The national median home value climbed a further 0.36% in October to a new high, the PropTrack Home Price Index shows, with price growth accelerating over the first few months of spring and pushing home values in yet another capital to record levels.
The downturn is now a distant memory in the fastest growing cities and regions, where property prices are higher than before interest rates started rising.
Prices are now at record highs in four capitals — Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide — as well as regional Queensland and Western Australia.
Sydney led the downturn in 2022 after interest rate rises and reduced borrowing capacities triggered price falls, but values have since fully recovered, topping the previous record set in February 2022.
Since then, interest rates have gone up 12 times, initially causing prices to fall in most markets, especially in Australia’s pricier capital cities.
PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said the rebound in overseas migration had contributed to strong demand, combining with tight rental markets and limited housing stock to offset the impacts of interest rate rises.
“Although the volume of new listings hitting the market has risen over the spring selling season, the demand for housing has remained strong, fuelling further home price growth and reflecting the sustained improvement in conditions.”
Values increased last month in all capitals except Darwin, with regional Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory also recording small falls.
Home values climbed further in Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra, but prices are still below the peaks set in March last year.
Homes in Sydney are more expensive than ever after a 0.37% rise took the city’s median dwelling value to $1.07 million.
When broken down by property type, Sydney’s median house value is $1.365 million and the median unit value is $800,000.
Prices in Sydney are now up about 7.5% over the past year, having risen for 11 months straight.
The strongest growth has been in Sydney’s eastern and inner suburbs as well as in the north and west. Values have jumped in both pricier suburbs and well-connected affordable areas.
Prices on Sydney’s northern beaches rose about 8% over the past year, driven by an imbalance of supply and demand, according to Brendan Pomponio, principal of Belle Property Manly, Dee Why, Mona Vale, and Terrey Hills.
“There is just not enough stock to satisfy the demand of people wanting to live on the Northern Beaches,” he said. “It’s so tightly held that once they’re here they don’t want to leave.”
Melbourne home values grew again in October, rising 0.28% over the month.
A median-priced Melbourne house costs $924,000, while a median-priced apartment is worth $626,000.
Values in Melbourne are now 0.64% higher than a year ago, but 3.9% lower than the peak of March 2022, despite rising most months this year.
“The price recovery in Melbourne is still lagging Sydney and Brisbane, but remains ahead of the recovery seen in Hobart and Canberra,” Ms Creagh said.
Much like Sydney, the Melbourne regions with the strongest growth are in pricier parts of the city, particularly the inner east.
While low stock levels supported prices earlier in the year, an influx of new listings was improving conditions for buyers, Marshall White Boroondara director Duana Wolowiec said.
“I’ve been blown away by the amount of properties that have come onto the market,” he said.
“There’s still a really good healthy supply of buyers out there, but we’re just starting to notice that buyers have got a little bit more choice. They’re sticking to their criteria.”
Mr Wolowiec said easing lending restrictions would accelerate price growth, given buyers had become accustomed to the higher interest rate environment.
“The moment interest rates start to ease and confidence starts to increase, the market can shoot up really quickly,” he said.
Perth had the strongest price growth of any capital over the past year, with prices up almost 11%. Another 0.52% rise in October took prices to yet another record high.
“Limited supply amid strong buyer demand has resulted in a sellers’ market, said Ms Creagh. “The relative affordability of the city’s homes, population growth, and very tight rental markets are also supporting home values.”
Despite the big jump in values, Perth is still the most affordable capital after Darwin, with lower prices and a tight rental market attracting interstate investors seeking better returns than on the east coast, increasing competition for homes.
Home prices in the city’s south west and south east are growing faster than anywhere else in the state, and are the second and third strongest performing regions for house price growth in Australia.
Western Australia had the fastest population growth of all the states and territories in the 12 months to March 2023, with more people competing over the limited number of homes both for sale and rent.
Brisbane was the equal strongest performing capital over October, with prices rising 0.52% – the same rate of price growth as Perth.
That jump in values takes the city’s annual price growth to 7.36%, with Brisbane homes now more expensive than ever.
Values in Brisbane’s south are growing faster than anywhere else in Queensland, rising a little more than 10% over the past year. The median dwelling value there is now $1 million.
Real estate agent Amanda Becke attributes this strong growth to high demand for quality homes in suburbs with good infrastructure.
“Supply is low, demand is high and it’s keeping prices buoyant,” she said.
Adelaide is the second strongest-performing city after Perth in terms of annual price growth, with values increasing 8.77% over the past year.
“The comparative affordability of the city’s homes has seen prices defy rapid interest rate rises,” Ms Creagh said.
Prices in Adelaide’s north have surged 12.83% in the past 12 months, making it the region with Australia’s fastest price growth.
Homes in the northern suburbs are typically less expensive than the rest of the city, and affordability has been a key driver of growth over the 12-18 months as interest rates rose.
Buyers with budgets restricted by higher rates have shifted their focus to areas where prices are cheaper, increasing competition at the affordable end of the market.
Home values in the ACT moved a little higher in October, rising by 0.11%.
With a median house value of $976,000 and a median unit value of $617,000, Canberra is Australia’s second most expensive city for houses and third most expensive city for units.
Canberra’s median home value is still about 5% below the peak reached in March 2022
Prices in Hobart increased by 0.51% in October, with improved conditions for buyers characterising the city’s property market this year.
Values fell more in Hobart during the downturn than in any other city, with properties spending longer on the market and the total number of listings more than 25% higher than a year ago, helping to ease competition.
Hobart’s median price is still 6.7% lower than the peak in March 2022.
Prices in Darwin fell 0.11% in October, having remained relatively flat for most of the year.
Although Darwin didn’t experience as large a downturn as the other capitals in 2022, prices haven’t yet recovered.
Darwin is Australia’s cheapest capital, with a median home value of $493,000, which is 1.35% lower than a year ago.
What’s next for home prices?
Although the pause in rate rises has supported a recovery in sentiment and helped encourage buyers and sellers to transact, higher than expected inflation has left the door open for another interest rate rise from the RBA.
A rate hike has the potential to slow the booming spring selling season, but given the shortfall between the expected rate of population growth and number of homes being built, it’s unlikely to derail the recovery.
“Dwelling approvals have declined, hitting decade lows earlier this year,” Ms Creagh said. “The sharp rise in construction costs, compounded by costly delays arising from labour and materials shortages, has slowed the completion of new homes.”
“Despite a weaker outlook for the economy, population growth is rebounding strongly and this looks set to continue.”
“Together with a shortage of new home builds and challenging conditions in the rental market, home prices are expected to rise further.”
Sourced from realestate.com.au