Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee
Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

GUEST OBSERVER

Demand for property on realestate.com.au rocketed in 2016, with the REA Group Property Demand Index increasing by 16.2 percent across the year, according to the REA's latest property demand index.

After peaking in October and November, demand for property dropped slightly to close out 2016, with the index falling 6.6 percent nationally in December.

The easing of demand nationally suggests that the record price rises in Sydney and Melbourne last year are likely to be more subdued as we move further into 2017.

The key drivers of this demand decline are likely due to Australian banks increasing interest rates for buyers independently of the Reserve Bank of Australia in late November and early December and continuing affordability issues across the Eastern seaboard.

Given the RBA has indicated that it may still cut the cash rate further, the banks have sent strong signals that they will respond by not passing cuts onto borrowers and we expect out of cycle interest rate rises by banks to continue.

This will be a key issue for borrowers this year, especially first home buyers and investors, with access to cheap money becoming more difficult.

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Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

The states which saw the largest declines in demand in December were New South Wales and Victoria. Continued concerns about apartment over supply are starting to cause concern in these markets with demand for apartments dropping by more than 7% in both states.

Western Australia and Northern Territory remain the lowest in-demand markets on realestate.com.au, however Western Australia’s demand index was relatively stable and both states saw an increase in apartment demand.

The result suggests that barring any surprising negative economic news or changes to the supply outlook in Western Australia, the bottom of the housing market could be close.

Tasmania continues to see elevated levels of demand and is now the strongest demand market in Australia. Relative affordability is likely a key factor driving interest.

National Demand for property dropped by 6.6% on realestate.com.au in December, down from the peak levels achieved in October and November.

Victoria saw the largest decline over the month, driven by low levels of demand for both houses and apartments.

New South Wales followed closely, suggesting the housing boom may be over, or at the very least slowing quickly, in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Despite December declines, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria continue to see the highest levels of demand in Australia with Western Australia and Northern seeing the lowest.

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Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

Victoria and New South Wales saw the largest decrease in people looking to buy on realestate.com.au in December. Affordability remains a the key driver in both states

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Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

Housing demand on realestate.com.au declined in all states, however the largest drops were in New South Wales and Victoria. Tasmania and Western Australia saw the smallest declines.

Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales continue to see the highest level of demand for houses.

Despite declining in December, the index for housing is still well up in all states for the 2016 calendar year.

Western Australia is the exception, where conditions have worsened over the past 12 months, however the bottom of the market appears to be close.

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Price growth in Sydney and Melbourne forecast to be subdued in 2017: REA's Nerida Conisbee

Apartment demand dropped by 5 percent nationally in the month to December, performing marginally better than houses over the same time period.

Demand for apartments nationally on realestate.com.au remains high, the third highest point recorded.

Concerns of apartment over-supply are impacting demand in New South Wales and Victoria, with these states experiencing the largest declines in December 2016.

Surprisingly, demand for apartments increased in the relatively weak markets of Western Australia and Northern Territory in December.

Nerida Conisbee is the Chief Economist at REA Group.

 

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