Australian home prices are still falling

Mark Evans/Getty ImagesRecord Point capsizes during the Super Foilers Grand Prix at Sydney Harbour on March 25, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.
  • Home prices across Australia fell again last week in weighted terms, led by a 0.2% drop in Melbourne.
  • Melbourne hosted over 2,000 auctions last week, the highest level ever recorded.
  • Annual price growth across Australia’s mainland state capitals has slowed to 0.7%, largely reflecting recent declines in Sydney and Melbourne.

Australian home prices fell again last week, led by a modest decline in Melbourne.

According to CoreLogic, prices across Australia’s five mainland state capitals slipped 0.1% in average weighted terms, the same outcome reported a week earlier.

The group said that largely reflected a 0.2% drop in Melbourne which, along with a 0.1% decline in Brisbane, offset flat to higher results in the other capitals over the week.

The small losses in Melbourne coincided with a record number of properties being taken to auction over the week.

Prices in Sydney, having previously led the recent national slowdown, were flat while those in Adelaide and Perth rose by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

Source: CoreLogic

The weekly decline left prices down 0.2% over the past month in average weighted terms — again, the same result reported a week earlier.

By individual capital, prices fell by 0.4% in Sydney, 0.2% in Melbourne and 0.1% in Adelaide over that period, offsetting growth of 0.2% and 0.1% respectively in Perth and Adelaide.

Combined with prior losses, all mainland state capitals except for Brisbane have seen prices decline this year, led by Sydney where they’ve fallen 1.8%.

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Brisbane prices are unchanged, making it the top performing market among Australia’s largest cities.

With prices nationally going backwards in weighted terms, in stark contrast to what was seen this time a year ago, annual price growth slowed to 0.7%, down from 1.1% a week earlier.

Source: CoreLogic

Over the year, prices fell by 2.5% in Perth and 2.1% in Sydney, offsetting growth of 5.4%, 1.8% and 1.5% respectively in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

The decline in Sydney and the sharp slowdown in Melbourne from the double-digit growth rates seen in the early parts of last year, largely explains the slowdown in national price growth over the past 12 months.

As has been well documented, affordability constraints in these capitals, along with tougher lending restrictions on interest-only mortgage lending and higher mortgage rates for some investor loans, has contributed to the steep deceleration in Sydney and Melbourne prices growth.

Higher levels of stock availability has been a factor with CoreLogic reporting that there were 111,254 properties listed for sale across Australia’s capitals last week, up 3.8% from 12 months earlier.

Source: CoreLogic

Helping to explain the recent weakness in Sydney, stock for sale in Australia’s largest and most expensive city currently sits at 27,054 dwellings, up 26.2% on a year ago.

Melbourne and Canberra, at 30,320 and 2,156 dwellings respectively, has also seen stock availability lift 3.5% and 0.8% over the year.

Stock levels in all remaining capitals have fallen over this period, led by a steep 32.9% drop in Hobart, currently home to the hottest price growth across the country.

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