Residential Real Estate Still Secure; All Capital Cities Recorded Big Rises in House Prices over Past 18 Months

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIAN housing markets displayed a generally resilient performance in 2011, reflecting the inherent security of residential real estate in this country, particularly when compared with housing markets in similar open-market economies.

The year was always set to be a period of correction for Australia's housing markets following the unsustainable growth in house prices recorded through 2009 and 2010.

Between January 2009 and June 2010, Melbourne's quarterly median house price rose by nearly 30 per cent, with Sydney's up by almost 20%over the same period. All other capitals also recorded big rises in house prices over those 18 months.

Housing affordability crashed by the end of 2010, with surging house prices and rising interest rates combining to send buyers into hibernation.

Australian Property Monitors data has revealed that capital city housing markets have generally performed encouragingly in 2011 despite the pressure on housing affordability generated in 2010 and a mixed economic performance in 2011.

The national median price for houses over the year to October 2011 fell by just 1% compared with the previous year, with median unit prices rising by 1.2% over the year.

The 2011 result follows a 17% rise in the national median house price over the year to October 2010 and a 12.2% rise in the median unit price over the same period.

The best capital city performers were Melbourne and Sydney, where annual median house prices rose by 1%.

Darwin and Adelaide house prices were flat and Hobart down 1.5%.

The worst performers over the year were Brisbane and Perth, where annual median house prices fell by 3.5% and 4.75% respectively.

The unit market clearly outperformed the housing market over the year to October 2011, with Sydney recording median unit price growth of 2% followed by Melbourne and Darwin up by 1%.

Brisbane and Perth were again the underperformers, with annual unit prices falling by 1.3% and 3.5%respectively.

Bureau of Statistics data confirms the solid performance by Australian housing markets in 2011, with the number of owner-occupier housing loans rising by 2.4% over the 10 months ending October compared with the same period in 2010.

New South Wales was the best performer with an increase of 8%, with Western Australia surprisingly in second place with growth in home loans of 7% over the year, courtesy of a surge in the past three months a indicating perhaps growing late-year momentum in that market.

By contrast, the number of home loans approved in Queensland in the year to October fell by 8.4% compared with the same period in 2010. …