Australia’s most expensive property markets are falling hardest as prices dropped for the fourth month in a row nationally, but a flock to affordable areas has pushed some regions to fresh peaks.
The PropTrack Home Price Index for the year to July found price falls had now spread across almost all major markets bar Adelaide, regional SA, Perth, regional WA and regional NT.
PropTrack senior economist Paul Ryan said nationally prices fell 0.43 per cent in July, down just 1.66 per cent from their peak in March 2022, but widespread adjustments could now be expected to extend beyond 2022 amid sharp rises in interest rates.
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Mr Ryan said it could be expected to sit around the 3 per cent mark before 2022 is over, with all markets adjusting to sharply higher interest rates and uncertainty around peak borrowing costs.
“We continue to see the biggest price falls in the most expensive markets of Sydney (-0.7pc to $975,000), Melbourne (-0.59pc to $800,000) and the ACT (-0.48pc to $841,000),” he said. “Two consecutive falls have now been recorded in Brisbane (now at $757,000), the strongest market over the past year, with Adelaide the only capital to not yet record a monthly price drop in 2022.”
South Australia is leading defiance of national price falls, logging new peaks in July in Adelaide (up 0.04pc to $634,000) and regional South Australia (+0.33pc to $368,000), with regional Western Australia (+0.24pc to $434,000) also at a fresh high.
Perth was also still rising, up 0.04pc to $534,000, and the rest of NT was also positive in July, up 0.28pc to $404,000.
Prices in regional areas – which are now starting to fall widely in eastern states – are still up almost 50 per cent on where prices sat before the pandemic, while capital city prices are still sitting almost 30 per cent higher than pre Covid-19.
Australia’s most expensive market, Sydney, saw home prices fall for the fifth consecutive month in July – down 3.4 per cent from their February price peak and up only 2.5 per cent over the past year, which is an annual jump of $24,375. “Higher interest rates may be weighing more heavily on growth in Sydney – the most expensive national market.”
Melbourne home prices have fallen for the fourth consecutive month in July, with the city seeing prices rise the slowest of all capitals in the past year at 2.4 per cent – rising $19,120 over the 12 months. Prices are now down 3.1 per cent from their peak in March 2022. “Price growth has slowed considerably since mid-2021,” Mr Ryan said, rising the least of any capital city market to push its median dwelling value to $800,000.
Brisbane prices dropped for the second month in a row in July, but are down only a fifth of a per cent since May 2022. Prices remain almost 50 per cent higher than in March 2020, with the city still the strongest market in the country over the past 12 months with prices up $160,938, Mr Ryan said. “Prices are up 21 per cent over that period and that outperformance looks set to continue.”
Adelaide defied the national downturn in July, logging a 0.4pc rise to $634,000, with prices growing 21 per cent in the past year – a jump of $134,598 – the second strongest capital in the country behind Brisbane. “Monthly price growth has slowed rapidly,” Mr Ryan said. “It was persistently above 2pc per month this time last year. We expect Adelaide to see smaller falls than other markets.”
Hobart fell half a per cent to a median price of $675,000 in July, but is still one of the country’s top performers annually, up 14 per cent in the past year rising by $93,083.
Australia’s second most expensive market, the ACT has seen price growth shrink considerably from a 30 per cent annual surge late last year to 11 per cent now – up $91,417 in 12 months. Prices are now down 1.6pc from their March peak to a median of $841,000, Mr Ryan said. “With price levels in the nation’s capital higher than all capital cities apart from Sydney, stretched affordability may weigh on price growth over the coming period as interest rates increase.”
Prices in Perth have grown 8.8 per cent in the past year – a rise of $46,885 – with the Western Australian capital logging a 0.4 per cent rise in July to $534,000. “Perth has not yet seen price growth slow down at the same rate as in other capitals,” Mr Ryan said. Its growth has been cut just 2 percentage points annually compared to what it was at the start of the year.
Darwin prices fell 0.24 per cent in July to $444,000 after peaking in May. “Price growth in Darwin has slowed rapidly in 2022 and is likely to see further falls,” Mr Ryan said. “Prices are up by just over 5 per cent in the city over the past year” – an annual rise of $23,798.
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