Monday, September 3, 2012

Australian Capital Cities: Where's Hot, Where's Not

DARWIN was Australia's best-performing capital city for property values during the past quarter - up 5.2 per cent - and showing year-on-year growth of 4.2 per cent, according to the latest figures from RP Data.

The RP Data-Rismark August Hedonic index shows Adelaide is the weakest performing capital city, with the change in dwelling values sliding 2.2 per cent during the past three months.

The monthly figures were more optimistic though for Adelaide, showing 1.4 per cent growth for August.

Sydney and Melbourne both recorded only 0.1 per cent growth for the month, but are performing better for the quarter, at 2.4 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

RP Data research director Tim Lawless, said the figures showed a flat winter season that could be the foundation of a strengthening Spring.

Combined with the lowest transaction levels since the late 1990s, prices could also soon be expected to drift upwards after years in the doldrums.

"Spring is going to be better than last year,” Mr Lawless said.

"This is the first time that we have seen total listings across the capital cities the same as they were last year.”

Mr Lawless said lower listing levels were good news for vendors because it meant there was not as much choice in the market which could improve prices.

"In November last year, the listings were 30 per cent higher than they are now,” Mr Lawless said.
"They are currently only 0.5 per cent higher than last year, which means that we have a good benchmark level."

From a supply perspective, it’s a sign that there aren’t as many homes on the market at the moment and that means homes are selling a bit faster and vendors discounting a little less but transaction numbers stabilising.”

Mr Lawless said transaction volumes were at their lowest since 1998 - and were currently lower than during the Global Financial Crisis.

"At the moment based on June data, transaction volumes are 7 per cent lower than the same time last year,” Mr Lawless said.

"We’re averaging 30,000 sales each month and that’s fairly steady across 2012.”

But the lack of stock was being treated calmly by potential buyers who are showing patience about finding exactly the right home.

"A lot more people are attending local houses and showing interest in the market place but there is still not a level of urgency that will push buyers into making a purchase decision rapidly,” Mr Lawless said.

“Purchase decisions won’t be rushed, buyers are playing vendors off against each other and are negotiating pretty hard.”

Figures from the data showed:

- Hobart prices grew 3.9 per cent for the year to date
- Sydney prices grew 1.9 per cent for the year to date
- Darwin prices grew 8.4 per cent for the year to date
- Brisbane prices grew 0.6 per cent for the quarter
- Perth prices lifted just 0.2 per cent for the quarter