Brisbane house prices hold firm for first time in two years as national housing market 'consolidates': APM

Brisbane house prices hold firm for first time in two years as national housing market 'consolidates': APM
Brisbane house prices hold firm for first time in two years as national housing market 'consolidates': APM

Brisbane ended a run of eight consecutive quarters of house price declines as capital city house prices barely moved in the September quarter, according to the latest data from Australian Property Monitors (APM).

The median Brisbane house price was almost unchanged at $430,965 over the September quarter, though still down 1.2% year-on-year.

APM revised the Brisbane June 2012 figure upwards from a previously reported $427,933 to $430,844.

APM senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson called the steady result for Brisbane “encouraging” and a “positive indication the market may have finally bottomed out".

Across the country, the national median house price was also unchanged at $533,480, while unit prices declined by 1.1% to a median of $406,415.

This followed revisions to June 2012 figures with house prices revised down from $536,075 to $533,695 and unit prices revised down from $411,810 to $410,981.

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“Although buyer activity and prices growth appears to be generally consolidating, capital city markets and sub-markets continue to operate at different levels,” says Wilson.

The Melbourne unit market remains the weakest capital city market for both house and units, down 6.1% year-on-year.

It registered a 1.4% drop over the September quarter – the sixth consecutive quarterly fall – taking the median Melbourne unit price down a median of $381,154.

This follows APM revised the  June median Melbourne unit price down from $392,862 to $386,678.

On average, a Melbourne apartment is $24,000 cheaper to buy now that it was a year ago.

Wilson attributed the continued to decline of Melbourne unit prices to a “surplus of new supply in the marketplace” negating an increase in activity from first-home buyers.

At the other end of the spectrum Darwin units were the best performing market across both house and units, with the median price of a Darwin apartment rising by more than $30,000 (8.1%) over the three month period to a median of $406,099.

This followed revisions to the Darwin median house price in June revised down from $384,384 to $375,666.

Apart from the drop in Melbourne unit prices and strength in Darwin unit prices, the September quarter results show that both house and unit prices have essentially been treading water over the past 12 months.



The strongest major capital city market over the past 12 months to September has been Perth, with house prices up 1.3% to a median $537,267, followed by Sydney, where house prices are up 1% year-on-year to a median of $641,890.

Melbourne registered a 0.8% rise in its median house price over the September quarter to $523,804 to leave prices down 0.8% year-on-year.

These figures were calculated based on APM revisions to previous June medians for Sydney (revised up from $642,425 to $644,191), Perth (revised up from $536,151 to $539,823) and Melbourne (revised down from $531,167 to $519,503).

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Among the smaller capital city housing markets, Darwin has been the standout with houses up 3% year-on-year to $610,592.

Hobart remains the weakest housing market, with a 2% decline over the September quarter and 4.7% drop year-on-year to a median of $305,889.

Overall, Wilson says that capital city housing markets continue to “edge their way through a tentative recovery following the downward correction of 2011”.

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However, the housing market remains “mixed and patchy”, with individual housing market prospects for the remainder of 2012 “dependant on the performance of local economies”.

“Although falling interest rates have improved housing affordability and buyer confidence, market growth has been driven largely by other local factors, including changes to buyer incentives, population growth, and value-buying momentum in some prestige markets.

“Given a reasonable economic performance over the remainder of 2012, housing markets will continue to generally find their feet, albeit at varying levels of activity,” Wilson says.

House prices are forecast to increase in Sydney, Perth, Darwin with Melbourne prices to remain relatively steady.

“The Brisbane market is poised for growth, particularly from rising inner-suburban demand, however the recent increase in the unemployment rate could have an impact.

“In Adelaide, the market will likely track sideways, and there are no clear signals that sustained house prices growth is set to return to Hobart,” says Wilson.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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