Market continues on flat trajectory - for now

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Australia's property markets are continuing on a sideways trajectory, but the bottom of the market is approaching, according to new data released today.

The RP Data/Rismark Home Value Index for June has revealed that the median property price across Australia's capital cities fell by 0.2% in June. This is the sixth

straight month in which capital city values have fallen, although RP Data points out that the rate of decline has been slowing from the January peak of -1.2%.

Over the June quarter, the only city to show a median value increase was Canberra at 0.5%. Sydney was the next best performer, seeing marginal negative growth of 0.2%.

Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth saw the largest overall falls over the three-month period, with Melburne seeing a dip of 1.6%, and both Brisbane and Perth falling by 1.3%.

Regional markets, meanwhile, saw overall negative growth of 1.2%,led mainly by weakness in coastal Queensland and Western Australian markets. Resources-led markets remain "quite healthy".

"Market conditions are clearly being dampened by low levels of consumer confidence fuielled by interest rate speculation and global economic jitters," said RP Data's head of research, Tim Lawless. "The higher-then-expected CPI figures earlier this week are likely to reignite the interest rate debate, which is not going to assist with an improvement in consumer sentiment."

Even so, there are signs that the market is stabilising.

"Some of the key leading indicators have recently shown improvement, suggesting the housing market may be approaching the bottom of the cycle," added Lawless. " The average selling time reached a high of 58 days backin March and is now down to 52 days. In contrast, the level of vendor discounting has risen to 6.8% as vendors become more willing to meet market price expecetations. Listing volumes have recently levelled."

Lawless also points out that rental markets remain tight, and that unit markets have continued to outperform detached houses.

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