House prices are still rising, but at a less frantic pace: Corelogic


The value of Australian property has jumped higher once again according to new data, though the rate of increase has slowed down compared to previous months.

Corelogic’s latest national home value index reveals that while national housing values increased by 1.8% during April, that figure is down on the results from March (2.8%) and February (2.1%).

As Corelogic research director, Tim Lawless, explains, the rate of growth in recent months - particularly that seen in March, which was the fastest in 32 years - was not sustainable.

“The slowdown in housing value appreciation is unsurprising given the rapid rate of growth seen over the past six months, especially in the context of subdued wages growth,” he said.

“With housing prices rising faster than incomes, it’s likely price sensitive sectors of the market, such as first home buyers and lower income households, are finding it harder to save for a deposit and transactional costs.”

That shift in first home buyer activity was borne out in today’s March lending indicators from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS), as first home loan commitments fell for a second consecutive month.

While loan commitments dropped by 3.1% in March to $15.6 billion, it’s worth noting that they remain at levels not recorded since 2009.

Smaller cities, regional areas top annual growth

Drilling down into the capital cities, Sydney recorded one of the largest home value increases once again this month (up 2.4%) while Melbourne values rose by 1.3%.

It was Darwin that recorded the highest month-on-month growth rate though, up 2.7% in April. That latest increase adds to what has been a significant turnaround for the Darwin market, which, at present, has the highest annual home value growth rate in the country (15.3%) according to the Corelogic index.

Australian home value changes - Corelogic Home Value Index (May 2021)

MonthlyAnnualMedian value
Combined regional1.9%13.0%$457,938

As Lawless points out and the table above demonstrates, Darwin’s resurgence is part of a wider trend which has played out in Australia’s smaller capitals.

Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart are the only capital cities which have an annual growth rate above 10% which Lawless says is, in part, a reflection of the smaller impact that COVID has had on those markets.

Corelogic’s annual house value growth figure of 13% for ‘combined regional’ areas also demonstrates the continued surge in popularity among home buyers outside of cities during the COVID period.

In fact, according to Domain’s latest House Price Report, regional New South Wales’ towns like Byron Bay and Kiama have both broken through the $1 million median house price mark in recent months - prices which have been fueled, in part, by COVID-inspired sea changes.

RELATED: May home loan snapshot: Longer term fixed rates are rising

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