Australian home prices, as measured by CoreLogic, continue to weaken in early 2018.
According to the group, prices across Australia’s five mainland state capitals fell by 0.1% last week in average weighted terms, leaving the decline over the past months at 0.3%.
By individual capital, prices fell by 0.1% apiece in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth last week, while those in Melbourne were unchanged.
Helping to explain the weakness over the past month, prices in Sydney and Melbourne — Australia’s largest housing markets — fell by 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. That, along with a 0.5% decline in Perth, completely overshadowed a 0.1% increase in Adelaide and unchanged reading in Brisbane.
With prices continuing to weaken, annual growth over the year slowed to 3.9%, largely reflecting a steep slowdown in price growth in Sydney and, to a lesser degree, Melbourne.
While a continuation of the themes seen in late 2017, as seen in the chart below from CoreLogic, mid-January is typically a slow period for market activity with the number of properties up for sale often falling heavily from the levels seen at the end of the spring selling season in mid-December.
That means that any price movements during this period need to be treated with a degree of caution.
According to CoreLogic, there are currently 86,475 properties up for sale across Australia’s capitals, up 4.1% on the same period in 2017.
Helping to explain some of the recent price movements in individual capitals, there are currently 17,857 properties listed in Sydney, and 21,768 in Melbourne, up 31.5% and 5.3% respectively on a year ago.
In comparison, listings in Hobart — currently Australia’s hottest capital city housing market in terms of annual price growth — are down 40.7% over the same period.
Listing levels in Perth and Darwin are also lower than a year ago, providing tentative evidence that price declines over the past few years may slow or reverse in the period ahead.