Is Melbourne Australia's new capital growth leader?

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New research has shown there could be a new market heading up Australia’s capital growth race, but its days may already be numbered.

According to research released by Residex early this week, Melbourne led the nation in terms of house price growth in the three months to the end of October.

Over the three months, Melbourne’s house prices grew by 6.84% to a median price of $729,500 and outstripped Sydney’s rate of growth by almost 3%.

The research claims Sydney may now be on the other side of its capital growth peak, after house prices grew by 4.04% in the three months to October, compared to the 7.58% experienced over the three months to July.

But the research comes with some words of warning for Melbourne, claiming Sydney’s behaviour could be a precursor for where Melbourne is headed.

“The data shows that Melbourne is now following Sydney’s lead in terms of strong capital growth,” the research said.

“Cyclically, Melbourne capital growth should cool in a few months then Brisbane may experience a peak in capital growth after that.”

Ian Hosking Richards, chief executive of Rocket Property said that timeline is one he roughly agrees with.

“Sydney looks to have hit its peak and seems to be cooling off,” Hosking Richards said.

“Melbourne has been a little patchy. If you look at somewhere like the south east corridor it might have had its run, but western Melbourne seems to have missed the boat. As better quality stock comes on to the market in those suburbs there’s a good chance it will catch up,” he said.

“Brisbane is just waiting to go and it will. It’s just a matter of when. A year or so ago a lot of people thought it would’ve taken off by now, but if you look at the prices there, especially price per square metre, they’re still at 2007 or 2008 levels.”

While Hosking Richards believes the Residex predictions may hold some weight, others aren’t quite so willing to take it as fact.

Michael Beresford, director – investment services with real estate investment advisory firm OpenCorp, believes people should be looking at the bigger picture.

“If you take Sydney as an example, where there’s been a period of strong growth and the median house price is pushing $1 million and people are saying it’s too expensive, if you go back to 2011 people were aghast prices hadn’t gone up in 10 years,” Beresford said.

“Looking at short-term cycles can generate a lot of emotion in people when you need to be looking at fundamentals. If you look at Melbourne it has those underlying fundamentals. Our population growth is strong and is predicted to overtake Sydney, which will translate into more demand.”

Beresford did agree with Hosking Richards on the point of Melbourne consisting of different markets.

“People shouldn’t look at Melbourne as one market. Across the city there is a range of separate markets. There’s the inner city apartments, the inner city blue-chip suburbs, the western suburbs and whole lot more and they’re all different.”
 

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