Australia's 8 capital city property markets ranked

author-avatar By on May 28, 2020
Australia's 8 capital city property markets ranked

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Research shows Canberra might be the hottest capital city to buy in over the next 12 months, as the property market enters a post-COVID era.

Depending on where you look, dark clouds appear to have gathered over Australia's property market

Major banks like Commonwealth BankNAB, ANZ and research firms like SQM have predicted a "worst-case" property price falls as high as 32%, with the two biggest property markets - Sydney and Melbourne - to be the worst-affected. 

Meanwhile there's been a drastic shift in property price expectations among buyers

Switzer Financial Group found that in February, 66% of Australians thought property prices would rise over the next 12 months. In May, that number fell to 10%.

But Australia doesn't have the singular property market, and is instead comprised of many different ones. 

Buyers agency Propertyology has completed a new research report ranking the eight different capital city property markets in terms of their 12-month outlook. 

Here's how each capital city ranked: 

  1. Canberra
  2. Brisbane
  3. Adelaide
  4. Hobart
  5. Perth
  6. Darwin 
  7. Melbourne 
  8. Sydney 

Buying an investment property or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for investors.

Provider
Ad rate
p.a.
Comp rate*
p.a.
Monthly
repayments
 
2.99% 2.99% $1,684 Go to site
Budget Home Loan Inv P&I
3.08% 3.14% $1,704 Go to site
2.94% 2.96% $1,634 Go to site
3.19% 3.19% $1,728 Go to site

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider’s web site. Introductory rate products were not considered for selection. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term. Rates correct as at 14 July 2020. View disclaimer.

Canberra ranked as the hottest capital city to buy in 

According to Propertyology's Head of Research Simon Pressley, Canberra has the best outlook of Australia’s eight capital cities over the next 12 months.

"Since early March, when this annoying germ disrupted every Australian’s life like never before, the focus within the real estate sector has largely turned towards the direct impact of COVID-19," Mr Pressley said.

"Understandably, Propertyology is regularly asked how this changes the outlook for capital city property markets.

"Canberra has shot to the top of capital city rankings. The primary reason for Canberra’s housing market elevation is an anticipated lower economic impact from COVID-19."

Mr Pressley says Canberra performs well because it had strong property market fundamentals pre-COVID-19 (such as employment figures, infrastructure and development projects etc.) as well as a strong outlook post-COVID.

"Canberra’s economy was already strong before the germ arrived. And with approximately 100,000 of its 213,000 workforce in the public sector, it will be significantly shielded through the COVID job lock-down period," he said.

"Logic would also suggest an expansion of Canberra’s public sector workforce will be needed to help administer the federal government’s record $320 billion COVID-19 support packages."

Ranking

Pro’s

Con’s

Canberra

  • Australia’s most insulated economy from COVID-19 with 50 percent of jobs in the public sector,

  • Anticipated expansion of public sector to service the many federal government support packages released in response to COVID-19,

  • Probable beneficiary of the pending regional bushfire rebuild,
  • Rental market strength,

  • Balanced supply of detached housing.

  • COVID-19 impact on international students,
  • Poor performance of attached dwelling market (71% of all dwellings approved over the last decade),

  • Australia’s third most expensive capital city median house price,

  • Significant portion of Canberra residents originate from Sydney and many will have property assets in Sydney, likely to be one of Australia’s biggest casualties from COVID-19

Source: Propertyology 

Brisbane in second spot 

Propertyology thinks Brisbane will be the second hottest capital city property market in the coming months.

"Brisbane’s property market is in second spot. Propertyology has been publicly critical of our home city on more than one occasion over recent years - proof of our impartiality - and we remain unchanged from our long-held view that Brisbane’s soft private sector job growth is an important missing link for otherwise solid fundamentals," Mr Pressley said.

Reasons to buy in Brisbane include affordable housing compared to other capital cities and a balanced supply of housing.

Ranking

Pro’s

Con’s

Brisbane

  • A balanced supply of housing,

  • Consistent beneficiary of internal migration from Sydney and Melbourne’s affordability constraints,

  • Rental market strength (ex inner-city),

  • Affordable housing

  • COVID-19 impact on international students,
  • Weak private sector job growth for the last decade,
  • The highest government debt of all states and territories,
  • No vision or community engagement in a plan that residents embrace,
  • Low business and consumer confidence,
  • Poor treatment of mum-and-investors over the last few years,
  • Totally squandered opportunities from the 2012-19 global tourism boom

Source: Propertyology 

Daylight separating Hobart, Adelaide from Brisbane

Adelaide and Hobart come in third and fourth place respectively, although there is some distance between second-placed Brisbane, the report says.

"Hobart – where Propertyology stopped investing in 2016 – still has reasonable medium-term credentials, including this month’s commitment from the state government to embark on the biggest construction program in the state’s history," Mr Pressley said.

Ranking

Pro’s

Con’s

Adelaide

  • Very liveable city,

  • Affordable housing,

  • Rental market strength,

  • Future economic development plans in STEM, defence manufacturing and Space sectors

  • COVID-19 impact on international students,
  • Consistent failure to attract interstate residents,
  • Freeze on overseas migration (the primary driver of Adelaide’s population growth),
  • A long-term uninspiring economy (similar to Brisbane)

Hobart 

  • Very liveable city,
  • Low housing supply,
  • Rental market strength,
  • Manageable household mortgages,
  • Recently announced major construction program,
  • Lowest government debt of all states and territories,
  • One of only two capital cities currently attracting a net population increase from internal migration,
  • Economic strengths include science, agriculture, manufacturing, and domestic tourism (once state borders open up),
  • City Deal government infrastructure commitment,
  • International airport due to be completed late-2020
• COVID-19 impact on international students,
• COVID-19 impact on international tourism

Source: Propertyology 

Perth a risky fifth 

According to Propertyology, Perth may well be the best-performing capital city over the next couple of years, but represents a higher degree of investment risk due to its "distinct lack of economic diversity".

"Perth's heavy economic reliance on mining is a concern at the best of times but, China purchases more than 50% of Western Australia’s exports so Perth will always be highly susceptible to a no-notice property market downturn," Mr Pressley said.

"Those contemplating investing in Australian real estate can do better elsewhere."

Darwin also fares fairly poorly in sixth, with Propertyology citing a concerning decline in population as a key metric.

Both Perth and Darwin are the only two capital cities to record an annual decline in median prices according to CoreLogic's latest Home Value Index results.

Ranking

Pro’s

Con’s

Perth

  • Housing affordability,
  • Good rental yields,
  • Easing rental vacancy rates,
  • Momentum in mining sector (job creation)
  • Enormous economic concentration risk with China,
  • Lack of economic diversity,
  • Connectivity to east coast

Darwin

  • Sentiment boost through winning the COVID-19 premiership (the first state / territory to come out of lock-down),
  • Housing supply is starting to balance out,
  • Housing affordability,
  • Good rental yields,
  • Easing rental vacancy rates,
  • Casual lifestyle,
  • Important geographically for national security
  • No vision,
  • Job decline pre-Covid,
  • Concerning decline in population,
  • Project pipeline is bare

Source: Propertyology 

Melbourne and Sydney in last place 

Australia's two largest property markets which have been the focus of the majority of property price reports over the recent months, Sydney and Melbourne, sit comfortably in last place.

According to Propertyology, these two cities have drawn the "COVID-19 property market quadrella" of:

  • Large exposure to international tourism
  • Large exposure to international students
  • A freeze on overseas migration
  • Australia’s highest household mortgages

Ranking

Pro’s

Con’s

Melbourne

  • Very liveable city,
  • Large population base and global profile,
  • Victoria was ranked Number One (equal with Tasmania) in CommSec’s latest economic report card, immediately prior to COVID-19,
  • Recently announced $2.7 billion construction program to propel the economy out of COVID-19
  • Significant pipeline of more apartments to come,
  • Structural integrity reputation risk to be a drag on local construction sector,
  • Housing affordability constraints (bigger mortgages are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 income crunch)

Sydney

  • Large population base and global profile,
  • Development of Sydney’s second airport will have substantial long-term benefits for the city’s economy
  • COVID-19 impact on international students and international tourism
  • Freeze on overseas migration,
  • Already lost 52,000 residents to internal migration over the last 2-years,
  • Inner-city vacancy rates of 13%,
  • Significant pipeline of more apartments to come,
  • Structural integrity reputation risk to be a drag on local construction sector,
  • Housing affordability constraints (bigger mortgages are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 income crunch)

Source: Propertyology 

While Mr Pressley believes that median house prices in the higher ranking cities could rise following a successful reopening of the economy, the same can't be said for Sydney and Melbourne.

"On the balance of probability, the median house price in Sydney and Melbourne is likely to produce single-digit declines over the next 12-months," he said.

"The most vulnerable parts of their markets are inner-city apartments, university precincts, hospitality hubs and luxury homes."

Housing and construction is expected to contribute significantly to Australia's economic recovery in 2020 and beyond - economic modelling commissioned by Master Builders Australia found a $40k uncapped new home building grant could create over 100,000 new jobs and add $30 billion to the economy.

Propertyology's report says record low interest rates and sensible credit policy will continue to support housing demand in Australia.


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 2019) 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 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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William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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