Prices have been falling for the previous 10 months, but the rate of decline has been slowing since September, with a drop of just 0.1% recorded in February.

Many analysts have been expecting the RBA tightening cycle to prompt a much bigger property crash this year, some forecasting an eventual 15-20% decline from the peak of April 2022.

ABS figures released yesterday show the mean property price fell by over 8% from June to December, with data yet to reflect 2023's defiance.

Property prices in Sydney (up 0.8%), Melbourne (up 0.2%) and Perth (0.1%) all rose over the past four weeks.

Prices in Brisbane were unchanged after a 0.4% drop in February, but this followed the largest and fastest top to bottom fall out the city has seen (down 10.9% from June to December), which might imply the decline has bottomed out.

Adelaide was the only one of the largest capital cities that saw prices fall over the past four weeks, down 0.4%.

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Supply squeeze the cause?

CoreLogic highlighted that in this downturn, many vendors have opted to weather the storm and hold off on listing properties, which is creating demand for current listings, making prices more robust.

There were 19.9% fewer new listings in the past four weeks than the previous five year seasonally adjusted average, which might suggest property owners who would otherwise have sold are choosing to hold while prices are lower.

SQM Research data also shows listings numbers remain well below decade averages, with asking prices up in many markets across Australia.

CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless also highlighted the surge in migration, and suggesting we are seeing a higher than normal portion of migrants choosing to buy rather than rent with vacancy rates so low and prices much higher.

Mr Lawless said the market still has a ways to fall however.

"The housing market is still facing some considerable downside risk. With this in mind, it's still too early to call a bottom of the cycle," he said.

"Interest rates may rise further from here, as well as the fact that we are yet to see the full impact on households from the aggressive rate hiking cycle to date.

"Additionally, economic conditions are set to weaken through the middle of the year, as household savings buffers are being depleted and labour markets are likely to loosen further.

"Given the uncertainty ahead of us, the next few months will be critical to understand whether the housing market is indeed moving through an inflection point or if it is simply the eye of the storm."


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