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House prices fall in Sydney, Melbourne and every capital city, Australian Bureau of Statistics says

Australia’s biggest property markets are still in free fall – with prices in one major city falling by more than 10 per cent in one year.

Despite record low interest rates, median house prices fell in every capital city during the March quarter, Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday showed.

In the year to March, real estate values fell in six of Australia’s eight capital cities.  

In Sydney, median house prices dropped by 10.3 per cent to $847,000, making it Australia's worst performing property market

In Sydney, median house prices dropped by 10.3 per cent to $847,000, making it Australia’s worst performing property market

Australia's biggest property markets are still in free fall with prices in one major city falling by more than 10 per cent in one year

Australia’s biggest property markets are still in free fall with prices in one major city falling by more than 10 per cent in one year

In Sydney, median house prices dropped by 10.3 per cent to $847,000, making it Australia’s worst performing property market.

Weaker property prices in Sydney have also caused stamp duty revenue in New South Wales to plunge by 17 per cent, newly released Budget papers showed.

The number of Sydney real estate sales, during the March quarter, was the weakest since records on this were first kept in March 2002.

The opening three months of 2019 were also unkind, with Sydney’s median house prices diving by 3.9 per cent.

The official Residential Property Indexes data was released on Tuesday as the NSW government’s Budget papers revealed falling property prices had caused stamp duty revenue for 2019-20 to plunge from $8.333billion to $6.887billion.

The tax on property buyers accounts for eight per cent of revenue in Australia’s biggest state.

Melbourne values plunged by 9.4 per cent in the year to March, with prices sinking to $655,000, as quarterly values fell by 3.8 per cent (pictured is Federation Square)

Melbourne values plunged by 9.4 per cent in the year to March, with prices sinking to $655,000, as quarterly values fell by 3.8 per cent (pictured is Federation Square) 

Melbourne values plunged by 9.4 per cent in the year to March, with prices sinking to $655,000, as quarterly values fell by 3.8 per cent.

Sydney and Melbourne were far from Australia’s only struggling cities with prices falling by an annual pace of 4.2 per cent in Darwin, to hit $472,500, as median values dropped by 2.7 per cent in Perth to reach $490,000.

Hobart was, by far, the nation’s best performing housing market with prices climbing by 4.6 per cent in the year to March to $465,200.

In the March quarter, however, prices fell by 0.4 per cent in the Tasmanian capital. 

In mainland Australia, Adelaide was the only capital city to see an annual increase in median house prices, with values rising by 0.8 per cent to $470,000.

On a quarterly basis, however, prices fell by 0.2 per cent.  

Sydney and Melbourne were far from Australia's only struggling cities with prices falling by 4.2 per cent in Darwin (pictured), to hit $472,500

Sydney and Melbourne were far from Australia’s only struggling cities with prices falling by 4.2 per cent in Darwin (pictured), to hit $472,500

Brisbane’s median house prices fell by 1.5 per cent in the March quarter to $530,000, which was steeper than the annual drop of 1.3 per cent, following some price increases during 2018.

Canberra’s equivalent detached house values were flat on an annual basis at $690,000 but fell by 0.9 per cent in the March quarter, also due to some price rises last year.

House prices in Sydney and Melbourne have suffered from record declines since 2017 when the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority tightened rules governing interest-only and investor loans.

The Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this month cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.25 per cent, a new record low.

The central bank’s head of financial stability Jonathan Kearns pointed out on Tuesday the proportion of home borrowers in arrears with their mortgage repayments had risen to the highest level since the global financial crisis a decade ago.

‘The share of banks’ housing loans in arrears is now back around the level reached in 2010, the highest it has been for many years,’ he told a Property Council summit in Canberra.

‘But arrears are still well below the level reached in the early 1990s recession.’

Median values dropped by an annual pace of 2.7 per cent in Perth (pictured) to reach $490,000

Median values dropped by an annual pace of 2.7 per cent in Perth (pictured) to reach $490,000

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