My 2018 message - Australia is not a single property market

My 2018 message - Australia is not a single property market
My 2018 message - Australia is not a single property market

This year we will learn, yet again, the simple truth that Australia is not a single property market.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the nation has just one united market, because most of the commentary in mainstream media discusses “the Australian property market” and what will happen to “Australian property prices”.

But success in 2018 will be achieved by those who understand that we do not have a single property market, but myriad different ones all doing their own thing, dictated by local conditions rather than national ones.

Have a look at the latest figures from the ABS on annual growth in dwelling prices in the eight state and territory capital cities in the past 12 months.

  • Hobart rising and now the national leader with annual growth of 14 percent.
  • Canberra rising but still moderate, with growth at 7 percent.
  • Melbourne still strong, with annual growth at 13 percent.
  • Sydney fading, with the annual growth rate now in single digits.
  • Brisbane and Adelaide going nowhere fast, with growth around 3-4 percent.
  • Perth (down 2 percent) and Darwin (down 6 percent) still going backwards.

Across regional Australia there were multiple market scenarios, with some growing strongly (like Newcastle, Geelong and the Sunshine Coast), others showing moderate growth, many stagnating with little in the way of price growth, some falling moderately and some (notably resources-related markets) down a lot.

You could argue we have a five-speed property market in Australia.

But you’re still going to see twits standing up on ABC Television making statements like “property price growth will be zero this year” and “the national property boom is over”.

You will also read various members of the chattering economist class discussing Australia as a single market and making meaningless forecasts about the future of Australian house prices. 

These sad bastards just don’t know any better. They’re not real estate specialists and they only occasionally turn their attention to residential property, by calling up a couple of graphs on their computer screens to examine what’s happening in what they see as a single homogenous one-size-fits-all real estate industry.

Forecasting that “Australian property prices” will rise 3 percent in 2018 is a pointless exercise, quite useless for the average consumer. The Reserve Bank governor said as much in a speech late last year.

The coming year will have similar variations to the last, with Canberra behaving very differently to Sydney, and Melbourne moving in an opposite direction to Perth.

Even within a single city, there will be different scenarios paying out in various parts of the metropolitan area. 

In Brisbane, there will be good growth in some of the more affordable areas, not much action in the middle market and price decline in the inner-city apartment markets.

Perth generally is moving into a solid recovery phase, but it won’t be evenly spread across the metropolitan area. Vacancies remain very high in the inner-city apartment suburbs and out in suburbia some precincts are moving forward more strongly than others. 

There are a couple of middle-market areas doing well, the Melville and Stirling local governments areas, while more affordable precincts in the north are leading the fight-back, notably the Joondalup and Wanneroo LGAs.

Such is the reality of our myriad real estate markets. Feel free to ignore anyone who generalises.

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder Property market

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