House-price drops slow in March

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Home values across the nation continue to fall, but the rate of decline has eased over the past three months, according to a recent report from CoreLogic.  

The 0.6% overall decrease in March was the smallest of the month-on-month declines since values fell by 0.5% in October last year.

Dwelling prices were down across six of the eight capital cities, with Canberra values holding firm and Hobart values rising by 0.6%. Most of the state regions, which comprise the areas outside the capital cities, posted a drop in values. The only exceptions were regional Tasmania (+0.5%) and regional South Australia (+0.3%).

The quarterly results mirrored the trend, with six of the eight capitals recording a fall in values over the March quarter. Darwin (-3.9%), Melbourne (-3.4%) and Sydney (-3.2%) led the downturn.

CoreLogic also reported that national dwelling values have been declining for seventeen months and have fallen by a cumulative 7.4% since peaking in October 2017. Despite the broad weakness, the national index remains 15.9% higher than figures logged five years ago—suggesting that most property owners are still in a strong equity position.

Darwin and Perth peaked in 2014, but conditions in both housing markets weakened due to post-mining boom, and weaker economic and demographic conditions. Dwelling values have fallen by a cumulative 27.5% and 18.1%, respectively since five years ago.  

“The silver lining here is that housing is now very affordable and first home buyers are proportionally much more active relative to other areas of the country,” said Tim Lawless, CoreLogic's head of research.

Hobart and regional Tasmania dwelling values remain at record highs. Prices in Canberra (-0.2%), Adelaide (-0.5%), Brisbane (-1.6%), as well as regional Victoria (-0.8%), meanwhile, are marginally down at present.

“Although housing market conditions remain relatively healthy in these regions, conditions have noticeably softened over the past twelve months with values either slipping or the pace of growth slowing materially,” CoreLogic said.

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