As Sydney fades, Perth shows early signs of recovery: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

As Sydney fades, Perth shows early signs of recovery: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder
As Sydney fades, Perth shows early signs of recovery: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

Generalised commentary masquerading as analysis is the curse of the real estate consumer.

Much of what appears in mainstream media about residential real estate discusses Australia as a single market. That’s an early clue for consumers that the commentator has shallow knowledge.

If you’re reading something from an alleged expert and they’re talking about what’s happening with “the Australian property market” or forecasting trends with “Australian housing prices”, turn the page because you’ve tuned into a charlatan.

Too much has been written about “the Australian property boom” and “the national affordability crisis”.

A core problem is that so much of the commentary comes out of the Sydney and the situation in our biggest city dominates the thinking and attitudes of commentators. We have outcry about a national problem that generally does not exist and “solutions” that will slug the whole nation to fix issues isolated to a small section of the national geography.

The 20 million Australians who don’t live in Sydney must wonder what the fuss is about. Any resident of Perth, Adelaide or Darwin would be bemused by the ongoing debate about soaring prices, affordability catastrophes and the need for major national action.

Many of the worst culprits for generalised and usually misinformed commentary are based overseas. Often they’re major international organisations or ratings agencies which seek to manufacture publicity by making dire warnings about Australian real estate based on generalised national statistics pumped up by the strength of the Sydney market.

There are plenty of local pontificators making the same mistake, most of them economists who should never be consulted for comment on residential real estate, a subject that’s not within their area of expertise, if indeed they have one.

Anyone who thinks Australian has had a national property boom recently should compare the price growth statistics for the capital cities in 2016 with the results in 2002 and 2003.

Back in 2002/2003, the last time we had a genuine nationwide boom, every capital city had sharply rising prices. In 2003, according to the ABS, house prices grew at least 13 percent in every one of the eight capital cities, including four where prices rose by more than 20 percent.

The ABS figures for last year have a very different look about them.  Only Melbourne and Sydney managed double-digit growth and only just. Two cities, Perth and Darwin, recorded falling prices, while Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide managed only moderate (4 or 5 percent) rises. Hobart rose 8 percent, according to these numbers.

When you compare this with that genuine boom at the start of the century, it’s apparent that even Sydney’s growth was tame compared with back then. Melbourne, meanwhile, has mostly been below 10 percent with its annual house price growth in the past four years, only recently bursting out into double digits (and now leads the nation, according to most sources).

Now the growing chorus among the generalised pontificators is that “the Australian property boom is over”.

If they’re talking about Sydney, they’re probably right. But out there in the heartland beyond the biggest cities, different things are happening, including places where markets are rising, even as Sydney is subsiding.

They include regional New South Wales, which now has far more rising markets than Sydney does.

The same is true of regional Queensland, which has many ascendant markets (as well as a few that you might still want to avoid), much more so than Brisbane at the moment.

Melbourne is less advanced than Sydney in its growth cycle, so has more time to run with price growth than Sydney does.

Both Hobart and Canberra have sparked to life recently on the back of improving local economies and are likely to continue heading in the opposite direction to Sydney.

Adelaide’s market is quite busy but is unlikely to deliver strong price growth, other than in selected pockets, because it lacks the economic and population growth impetus of other major cities.

Perth has been going backwards throughout the four years that Sydney has been advancing – and now, as Sydney fades, Perth is showing the early signs of recovery.

Terry Ryder is the founder of You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Sydney Property Prices


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