Darwin bucks national trend of falling house prices: RP Data-Rismark

Darwin is currently Australia’s best-performing housing market, while Perth’s house price decline continues despite its strong market fundamentals.

Dwelling prices in the Northern Territory capital city increased by 2.1% in the three months to May 2011, compared with a nationwide capital city decline of 1.2% over this period, according to the RP Data?Rismark Hedonic Home Value Index.

For the year to date, Darwin dwelling prices are down by 3.2%, led by a poorly performing units market.

Unit prices are down 6% in May, 2.2% over the May quarter and 5.2% for the year to date, dragging the median price down to $383,500.

In comparison, house prices are up 0.8% in May, up 3.2% for the May quarter and down 1.7% for the year, with the median house price sitting at $497,000.

Darwin’s median dwelling price now stands at $460,000.

Darwin currently has the strongest rental market, with gross rental yield of 5.4% for houses and 5.7% for units.

RP Data research director Tim Lawless says the latest index shows that gross Australian apartment yields have now risen to 5%.

Apart from Darwin, unit rental yields are improving for property investors in Canberra (5.4%), Brisbane (5.2%) and Sydney (5.2%).

The worst yields are in Melbourne (4.2%), Adelaide (4.6%) and Perth (4.9%).

Perth recorded the biggest drop in dwelling prices for the three months to May 2011 as capital city prices continue to decline at a greater rate than those in the rest of the country.

Perth house prices are down 4.5% for the quarter to $475,000, and down 5.1% for the year.

The median price of a Perth dwelling currently stands at $462,500. For the year, Perth dwelling prices are down 7.5%.

“Despite what appears to be fairly strong fundamentals, the Perth housing market doesn’t appear to be turning just yet,” Lawless says.

“For a city that is recording rapid population growth, low unemployment and a large private capex boom, house prices have nevertheless been contracting since late 2007 after years of above average capital growth in the pre-GFC period

“The critical missing piece of the puzzle seems to be buyer demand.”

For the three months to May, Hobart’s dwelling prices declined by 1.9% ($315,100), Melbourne’s by 1.8% to $500,000, Brisbane’s by 1.4% to $425,000, Adelaide’s by 1.3% to $382,500 and Canberra’s by 0.7% to $483,750.

The Sydney housing market remains flat, declining just 0.1% in the May 2011 quarter to $522,000. For the year to date the market is up 1%, the only capital city to record positive growth for 2011.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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