Australia's housing downturn largely reflects price falls for expensive properties in Sydney and Melbourne

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
  • Australian home prices are falling at the fastest pace since the GFC, according to CoreLogic’s Home Value Index.
  • Across the country, the top quarter of the housing market has seen prices slump 7.2% over the past year. In contrast, homes in the lower quarter of the market have actually increased by 0.4%.
  • In Sydney and Melbourne, the top quartile of the market has seen prices fall by nearly 10% over the past year. With the exception of Perth, values at the top end of smaller capital city markets all increased.

Australian home prices are falling at the fastest pace since the GFC, according to CoreLogic’s Home Value Index, dropping by 0.7% in November in average weighted terms.

The declines last month were even steeper in the capitals last month, sliding by 0.9%, primarily reflecting large falls of 1.4% and 1% respectively in Sydney and Melbourne, masking small increases in all other state capitals except for Perth.

Digging a little deeper into the CoreLogic data, it’s clear that it’s the top end of the housing market, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, that continues to lead the nationwide housing downturn.

CoreLogic

Across the country, the top quarter of the housing market has seen prices slump by 7.2% over the past year, a performance in stark contrast to homes valued at the lower quarter of the market which have actually increased by 0.4%.

In the capitals, values in the top 25% of valuations have fallen by 8.2%, nearly ten times faster than those in the bottom 25% of valuations over the same period.

That divergence by valuation quartile largely reflects trends in Sydney and Melbourne where prices at the top end of the market have tumbled by 9.3% and 9.9% respectively over the past year.

With the exception of Perth, prices at the higher end of valuations have actually increased in all other capital cities over the past year, underlining that the national downturn largely reflects steep price falls in expensive properties in Sydney and Melbourne.

“With dwelling values in Sydney and Melbourne substantially higher than in other cities, a large part of the this underperformance across the top quartile at the national and capital city level can be explained by weaker conditions across the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets,” says Tim Lawless, Head of Research at CoreLogic.

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