National house prices continue fall

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Dampened by fragile buyer confidence and a quiet winter selling season, growth in house prices across all mainland capital cities recorded falls over the September quarter, according to an Australian Property Monitors housing report.

This marked the fifth consecutive quarter national house prices have fallen, with the median house price down to $536,011 and national unit prices down -0.6% to $406,342. Hobart was the only city to escape the fall, recording no change over the quarter.

Brisbane is the most affordable mainland city in which to purchase a house with a median price of $429,339, after growth deteriorated markedly over the quarter by -2.7%.

Sydney median house price growth was also down -1.8% to $637,646, while the market in Canberra experienced a decrease of -1.4% with the median house price now $566,095.

The unit market recorded very mixed results over the September quarter with Melbourne the only city seeing a small growth of +0.1%.

“Over the winter quarter, buyer wariness was exacerbated by growing concerns over the state of the international economy, a weakening stockmarket and softening economic activity as indicated by rising unemployment rates over the mid year period in all capital cities,” said Andrew Wilson, senior economist, Australian Property Monitors.

Wilson added that a potential fall in interest rates would be unlikely to have a significant impact on house prices in the short-term, but would provide welcome relief to mortgage holders and marginally improve housing affordability.

“The prospect still remains of ongoing economic growth in Australia, particularly in those states exposed to the resource sector, with modest property price growth expected to resume in some capital cities through the first quarter of 2012,” Wilson said.

 

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