Growth stalls

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Median house and unit prices fell in most of Australia’s capital cities during the September quarter, according to the latest figures from Australian Property Monitors (APM).

Only Sydney (0.7%) and Melbourne (1.2%) saw quarterly increases in their house price medians, while Melbourne (0.6%) was the only capital to see any growth in the unit sector.

The biggest losers were Darwin, with quarterly growth of -1.9% for houses and -5.6% for units, and Brisbane, with figures of -1.7% for houses and -2.8% for units.

Australia as a whole saw quarterly growth come in at 0.1% for houses and -0.4% for units, indicating a nationwide slowdown.

“This quarter’s results show the effect on prices of increased borrowing costs following the normalising of interest rates, together with falling auction clearance rates and lower levels of housing finance,” says Yvonne Chan, Head of Research for Australia Property Monitors.

Annual growth was a healthier 11.5% for houses and 6.5% for units nationwide, but this was a significant drop on the June quarter figures of 15.2% and 12.1%.

“The rate of annual price growth has declined as the moderation of prices experienced over the June and September quarters offsets the strong growth experienced over the equivalent period last year,” says Chan.

“In the short-term, with national growth at 6.1 per cent for the nine months to September, and with expectations of rising interest rates, APM anticipates that prices will remain flat or fall slightly for the remainder of this year with this trend to continue into 2011,” she adds.

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