A state by state housing sentiment rundown: Matthew Hassan

A state by state housing sentiment rundown: Matthew Hassan
A state by state housing sentiment rundown: Matthew Hassan


After tentative improvements earlier in the year, Australia’s housing markets are now showing a much clearer stabilisation.

Our August Housing Pulse highlights a strong lift in buyer sentiment that should see a material pick up in sales heading into year end with the Westpac Housing Consumer Sentiment Index giving the most positive signal in over five years. That said, a sustained lift in demand has yet to be confirmed and there are several important caveats including significant variations in conditions across different states. Here we provide a quick ‘flyover’ summary of how the main markets are faring.

NSW: sparking back into life – Sydney’s price correction has now clearly ended with a marked improvement in auction markets, listings on a much firmer footing and sentiment pointing to a likely lift in demand heading into year end. Sydney dwelling prices rose 1.3% over the 3mths to Aug, the first gain since mid–2017 although prices are still 14% below their peak.

Victoria: conditions firm, confidence returns – the state’s price correction has also ended with a markedly improved tone to conditions and a significant lift in housing-related sentiment. Melbourne continues to show a more varied performance across segments and sub–regions with more pronounced corrections across higher-priced tiers. The turnaround over the last few months has been particularly striking for Melbourne’s Inner East.

Queensland: out of step and out of sorts – the improvement evident elsewhere has been much less convincing in the state. Prices in Brisbane look to have stabilised after a slip lower earlier in the year but buyer sentiment has shown only a marginal improvement and market conditions remain soft. Affordability is in relatively good shape but the market is still clearly lacking a spark.

South Australia: slipping despite positives – Adelaide has seen a modest price correction since the start of the year despite having been largely bypassed by the preceding boom and ‘fundamentals’ that are mostly benign or supportive. Turnover has also tended to drift lower, the mix suggesting weakness may relate to tightening lending conditions.

Western Australia: hope returns but stability elusive – the state continues to struggle with pervasive price weakness. Buyer sentiment has improved, signalling some hope going forward, but with prices down 8.7%yr, the Perth market has yet to find a base.

Tasmania: pressures rebuilding? – after calming down in 2019 following a vigorous two year boom there are signs that pressures in Tasmania’s housing markets may be starting to build quickly again. Prices have been essentially flat amid a sharp pull-back in turnover but conditions look likely to stabilise following a lift in sentiment. The state’s housing market remains very tight with a mix that suggests any lift in demand could be quick to stoke price pressures again.

A state by state housing sentiment rundown: Matthew Hassan

See the full report for a complete rundown.

Matthew Hassan, Senior Economist, Westpac

State Economy

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