Dwelling sales down almost 9% for 2016

by Miklos Bolza04 Jan 2017
The number of dwellings sold across Australia in the 12 months prior to 31 December was approximately 465,500, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.
One of the key figures in the firm’s December Hedonic Home Value Index, it signified a drop of 8.7% from the previous year and an amount 3.8% lower than the ten year average.
However, CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless warned not to view these results too negatively, saying that lower sales did not necessarily mean there was lower demand for property.
“In most markets, the slowdown in turnover is more attributable to a shortage of stock available for sale rather than a lack of buyer demand. Low stock levels have fueled a sense of urgency amongst buyers and contributed to short selling times and minimal discounting from vendors.”
For 2017, the Australian housing market was likely to face headwinds which may slow down rates of growth across the sector, Lawless said.
“Mortgage rates were already trending higher towards the end of 2016, despite any movements in the Reserve Bank cash rate; higher mortgage rates have the potential to quell housing demand, especially considering the record-high levels of household debt which implies consumers are highly sensitive to changes in the cost of debt.”
CoreLogic’s Index also found that the average value of dwellings in Australia’s capital cities in December had also increased by 10.9% year-on-year. This put the median dwelling price at $615,000.
Broken down by capital city, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart experienced the highest rates of growth overall.
City Change in value (YOY) Median price
Sydney 15.5% $852,000
Melbourne 13.7% $641,200
Brisbane 3.6% $486,000
Adelaide 4.2% $425,000
Perth -4.3% $490,000
Hobart 11.2% $345,000
Darwin 0.9% $495,500
Canberra 9.3% $595,000
However, growth rates in capital cities showed a significant split between houses and units, Lawless said. The average house value had grown by 11.6% over the 12 months prior to 31 December while unit values had only increased by 5.9%.
“The divergence in growth rates is the most distinct in Melbourne and Brisbane, where concerns around unit oversupply have eroded buyer confidence. Melbourne house values are up 15.1% over the year compared with a 1.7% rise in unit values, while Brisbane house values are 4.0% higher over the year, with unit values falling by -0.2%.”
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