Australian house price growth is slowing

Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Australian capital city house prices registered their slowest annual growth in 31 months in March, according to the latest Home Value Index released by Corelogic RP Data earlier today.

From a year earlier house prices grew by 6.4% — still a firm clip — although well below the 11.1% rate registered in the 12 months to July 2015. House values rose by 6.6%, outpacing a gain of 4.7% in apartment values.

By capital, Melbourne retained the mantle of the hottest housing market in the country with prices rising 9.8% from a year earlier. Sydney and Hobart, at 7.4% and 4.8% respectively, recorded the second and third largest increases over the past year.

Perth and Darwin, those capitals most exposed to the fortunes of the mining sector, were the only cities that saw prices decline with falls of 2.0% and 1.8%. Though they recorded the weakest results over the past year, in March they recorded the fastest price increases, registering gains of 1.2% and 2.1% respectively.

Across the nation prices rose by 0.2% in March with a 1.0% increase in Sydney offsetting a 0.6% drop in Melbourne. Given the sheer size of these housing markets, their weighting tends to be influential on the national index.

The table below, supplied by CoreLogic RP Data, reveals the performance of each capital city across the country, breaking down the performance by month, quarter and year.

“The annual pace of home value appreciation across Australia’s capital cities highlights the slowing growth trend,” said Tim Lawless, head of research at CoreLogic RP Data. “The housing market has been losing momentum since July last year, when capital city dwelling values were increasing at the annual rate of 11.1%.”

Though the annual pace of growth is slowing, thanks largely to a moderation in gains in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s clear from the chart below that there’s been some hefty increases in those two cities since the height of the global financial crisis.

While many analysts predict that house price growth will moderate further in the period ahead, Lawless believes there’s few indicators out there that suggest house prices will suffer substantial declines.

“Overall, no indicators have emerged to suggest that dwelling values are starting to show sharp declines in any of the capital cities,” he says.

“Perth and Darwin are the only cities to record negative value movements over the past year, and the declines from their recent peak which was more than twelve months ago have been modest at just 4.6 per cent. Sydney and Melbourne growth rates are moderating after a strong cycle of growth, while other cities are recording minimal shifts higher and lower.”

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