How to analyze city property price data: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

How to analyze city property price data: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder
How to analyze city property price data: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

EXPERT OBSERVER

Whenever a major research firm publishes its latest data on the movement in capital city house prices, media presents that data as fact. 

It also, often, makes sweeping conclusions about the meaning of the figures, relative to affordability, the state of the market and the impact on consumers.

The next firm to publish data will receive the same media treatment: the figures are factual, therefore this is what is means for the market and for buyers and sellers.

The problem is: the two sets of data are quite different and, in some cases, contradictory.

By the time figures have been published from five different sources - the ABS, the REIA, SQM Research, Domain and the ever-present but often-puzzling CoreLogic are regularly featured - consumers who have been absorbing all the data will be massively confused and terribly misinformed.

It’s rare for all sources to agree on how much city markets are rising or falling - or, indeed, whether markets are rising or falling.

According to CoreLogic’s latest data, Melbourne house prices are lower than 12 months ago - but both the ABS and SQM Research disagree. They both have Melbourne about 3% higher than a year ago.

It’s a similar situation with Adelaide: SQM says the Adelaide housing market is down a little, but the ABS and CoreLogic says it’s risen marginally.

All three sources believe the Hobart market has risen in the past year, but there is considerable disagreement on how much: CoreLogic says 10.7%, the ABS 15.5% but SQM claims it’s only 6.4%.

There’s a substantial difference there: SQM says there’s only moderate growth in the Tasmanian capital but the official government source, the ABS, portrays a boom market.

CoreLogic tells us the Perth housing market is still in the negative but SQM claims that the downturn is over and prices have started to rise again.

Canberra is either the strongest capital city market in the nation, up 10.4% in the annual terms, or it’s rising only moderately at 2% or 3% - depending on whose figures you believe.

SQM says the average scenario across the eight capital cities is an annual rise of 2.6%, but the ABS says there’s been no meaningful change, while CoreLogic says the national market is down 2%.

Newspaper headlines keep telling that prices are falling across Australia, because they tend to publish the CoreLogic figures, but both the ABS and SQM disagree.

Both those sources have prices higher than a year ago in five of the eight capital cities, and SQM has the national average up 2.6%, but you get quite a different conclusion is you focus on the CoreLogic data.

The only matters on which the three major sources broadly agree is that the Darwin housing market is down about 4% and that the Brisbane house market is up by 1% or 2%.

The message for consumers is: don’t take price data published by media too seriously - and don’t base big financial decisions on the published data.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au

[email protected]

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Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

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