Australian house prices fall for third straight month

author-avatar By on August 03, 2020
Australian house prices fall for third straight month

Photo by Syed Hadi Naqvi on Unsplash

Australian median housing values fell by 0.6% nationally in July, according to the latest CoreLogic home value index.

It's the third consecutive month of declines but is a marginal improvement on the 0.7% decline seen in June. 

Of the eight capital cities, only Canberra and Adelaide saw a rise in values, up 0.6% and 0.1% respectively, while Melbourne and Sydney led the decline, down 1.2% and 0.9% each. 

Regional markets have shown to be more resilient to falling values compared to their capital city counterparts, with housing values across combined regional areas unchanged, compared with a 0.8% fall across the combined capital cities. 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner-occupiers.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said housing markets across the country have remained relatively resilient to the impact of COVID-19. 

“The impact from COVID-19 on housing values has been orderly to-date, with CoreLogic’s national index falling only 1.6% since the recent high in April and housing turnover has recovered quickly after it’s sharp fall in late March and April," Mr Lawless said. 

“Record low interest rates, government support and loan repayment holidays for distressed borrowers have helped to insulate the housing market from a more significant downturn.

"Advertised supply levels have remained tight, with the total number of properties for sale falling a further 4.3% in the 4 weeks to July 27th, sitting 15.2% below where they were this time last year.

"Additionally, increased demand driven by housing specific incentives from both federal and state governments, especially for first home buyers, have become more substantial.”

Change in dwelling values as at July 31, 2020

 

Month

Quarter

Annual

Total return

Median value

Sydney

-0.9%

-2.1%

12.1%

15.3%

$866,110

Melbourne

-1.2%

-3.2%

8.7%

12.3%

$678,334

Brisbane

-0.4%

-0.9%

3.8%

7.7%

$502,167

Adelaide

0.1%

0.3%

2.4%

6.8%

$441,826

Perth

-0.6%

-2.2%

-2.5%

1.6%

$439,092

Hobart

-0.2%

0.9%

5.9%

11.5%

$486,771

Darwin

-0.3%

-1.6%

-2.2%

4.5%

$384,533

Canberra

0.6%

1.3%

7.2%

12.2%

$641,360

Combined capitals

-0.8%

-2.0%

7.9%

11.5%

$637,270

Combined regional

0.0%

-0.1%

3.9%

8.7%

$395,129

National

-0.6%

-1.6%

7.1%

10.9%

$552,912

Source: CoreLogic

But Mr Lawless said with the staggered end to JobKeeper and JobSeeker beginning in October, and home loan repayment holidays ending in March, the outlook for the market was skewed to the downside. 

“Urgent sales are likely to become more common as we approach these milestones, which will test the market’s resilience," he said.

"Similarly, the recent concerns of a second wave of the virus and the potential for renewed border closures and stricter social distancing policies are likely to further push consumer sentiment down.

"This is likely to weigh on both home buying and selling activity more broadly.”

High-end Sydney and Melbourne housing leads the downturn 

In Sydney, upper-quartile values were down 2.5% over the past four months, while lower quartile values were virtually flat at 0.1%.

Similarly, over the same period in Melbourne, upper-quartile values were down 5.2% while lower quartile values have declined a more modest 1.2%.

This quartile of housing led the charge of skyrocketing housing in the latter of half of 2019 and early 2020. 

Mr Lawless said more expensive housing markets were often the most susceptible to price swings. 

“Higher value markets tend to be more reactive to changes in the economic environment, having led both the upswing and the downturn over previous cycles," he said.

"The COVID related downturn has seen this trend playing out again, with upper quartile values down 2.9% across the combined capital city index since the end of March, while lower quartile values have fallen by only 0.5%."

Rental rates continue to slump 

Rental rates continued to trend lower in July, with the weakest conditions found in Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne.

The unit sector drove the biggest falls. 

Since March, capital city house rents have fallen by 0.3% while over the same period, unit rents have dropped 2.6%. 

Hobart has seen the biggest falls in rent since March, with house rents down 2.0% and unit rents down 4.4%. 

Mr Lawless said weaker rental conditions were most evident in markets affected by border closures and supply additions. 

“Some inner-city areas of Melbourne and Sydney have seen rental listings more than double since March due to the combined effect of temporary migrants departing, and overseas arrivals, including foreign students, stalling," Mr Lawless said.

"Compounding this weak demand position is the surge in construction activity and investment over previous years, which has added to inner-city rental supply."

Mr Lawless added Airbnbs being added to the rental market, and workers worst affected by restrictions were contributors to poor rental conditions. 

“Anecdotally, the transition of short-term accommodation, namely Airbnb, to permanent rentals is temporarily adding to supply," he said. 

"Additionally, the significant employment decline across food and accommodation services, arts and recreation services is compounding the weak rental demand as these sectors workers are more likely to rent.

"To date these sectors have seen the largest number of job losses and impact to wages." 


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2019. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au in 2019. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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