While downturns continue across some capital cities, the cloud of uncertainty over Australia’s property market is beginning to lift, a new report reveals.
Realestate.com.au’s April 2019 Property Outlook report shows a picture of moderate year-on-year change in the median dwelling price across most capital cities, though Sydney has recorded the sharpest annual drop at 8%, down to $830,000.
Despite regular comparisons with Sydney, Melbourne’s market fared stronger year-on-year, with a decrease of 4.1% taking the median price down to $660,000.
The other capital cities to experience price drops for the 12-month period were Perth (-3.9%), Darwin (-3.4%) and Brisbane (-0.9%).
Hobart experienced a steady 5% growth, lifting to $425,000. Canberra and Adelaide prices also rose incrementally, up 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.
Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au’s Chief Economist, says this property downturn is “far from” the worst the Australian market has seen, although home owners in Sydney, Perth and Darwin may feel otherwise.
“These cities are the most challenged in the country right now – Perth and Darwin are five years into a downturn, while in Sydney it has been shorter and faster, with prices down almost 10% in only 18 months,” Conisbee says.
“In other cities, the results are far more mixed. Melbourne frequently gets lumped in with Sydney when discussing the falling market, but the reality is Melbourne is holding up a lot better. Elsewhere, conditions are relatively flat.”
Median dwelling price by capital city*
- Adelaide: $441,250
- Brisbane: $495,000
- Canberra: $595,000
- Darwin: $450,000
- Hobart: $425,000
- Melbourne: $660,000
- Perth: $470,000
- Sydney: $830,000
*For the March quarter, 2019.
Moving forward, Conisbee says the outlook for the market is “getting clearer”, following the release of the Financial Services Royal Commission findings, which were creating uncertainty earlier in the year.
“In the end, [the final report] said pretty much nothing about housing finance… the biggest impact of the Royal Commission was actually when it was announced, with banks immediately beginning to focus more on responsible lending,” Conisbee says.
“Finance is set to continue to ease this year… this won’t bring back investors to the same point as during the boom, but it will make it easier for them. Ideally it will put first home buyers and upgraders in a better position, particularly because, for this group, buying conditions are far better than two years ago.”
Despite the clarity afforded from the banking sector, the upcoming federal election result will cause somewhat of a stalemate.
“If it wasn’t looking like we’re in for a change of government, it is likely we would be seeing prices stabilising right now,” Conisbee says.
“Elections create paralysis in property markets – new listing volumes decline and buyers sit on their hands.”
Australia’s most sought-after suburbs
South Australia and New South Wales dominated the top 10 in-demand suburbs in Australia for the three months to March 2019, but the Victorian suburb of Middle Park took the number-one spot.
This is the second time this year that Middle Park has ranked as Australia’s most in-demand suburb. The affluent beachside suburb attracts plenty of attention for its lifestyle opportunities, established amenities, and impressive range of housing stock, including character cottages and terraces.
Here are the most sought-after suburbs on realestate.com.au for the quarter, determined by the number of views per listing.
- Middle Park, VIC
- Millswood, SA
- Killarney Heights, NSW
- Crafers West, SA
- Allambie Heights, NSW
- Stirling, SA
- Collaroy Plateau, NSW
- Birchgrove, NSW
- Aldgate, SA
- Belair, SA
Adelaide featured heavily in the top 10, including Millswood in the city’s inner-south, and Crafers West, Stirling, Aldgate and Belair in the popular, leafy Hills region.
Rounding out the list were Sydney suburbs: Killarney Heights, Allambie Heights and Collaroy Plateau in the Northern Beaches, and Birchgrove in the inner west.
The list demonstrates a continuing interest in lifestyle-led suburbs, particularly those offering ‘sea change’ or ‘tree change’ potential.