Property values down by 8.4% since 2017

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The price downturn that lasted for almost two years has provided some temporary relief to many homebuyers aspiring to achieve the Great Australian Dream. However, the clock has started ticking and prices could soon hit record highs again, according to the latest study by ANZ and CoreLogic.

Residential property values have declined nationally by 8.4% from the 2017 peak to the June 2019 trough. Furthermore, national dwelling values were only 6.5 times higher than gross annual household incomes, the lowest level since December 2013.

However, with the rate that the prices are rising, it appears that housing affordability has already peaked.

The record-low interest rates, easier access to credit, and the certainty around negative gearing and capital gains tax have driven the rebound in prices, said Felicity Emmet, senior economist at ANZ.

"Although affordability has improved following a downturn in housing values, however June 2019 marked a turning point as dwelling values again began to outpace household incomes across capital cities, with the exception of Perth and Darwin," she said.

Also read: Sydney and Melbourne on the rebound?

Houses in Sydney and Melbourne have witnessed price growth of as much as 6% since May. If the current trend continues, property prices could reach new highs as early as the first half of next year, said Tim Lawless, CoreLogic head of research.

"However, there is still some good news for prospective buyers and renters. The research shows households are now dedicating the smallest proportion of their incomes towards paying a new mortgage since early 2004 and renters are spending the lowest proportion of their income on accommodation since 2007," he said.

A separate analysis by Moody's Investors Service said housing affordability could start to deteriorate by next year.

"We expect housing affordability will deteriorate over 2020 as housing prices continue to increase. The risk of delinquencies and defaults in new mortgages will increase as affordability deteriorates," said Alena Chen, senior analyst for Moody's Investor Service.

But as of the moment, the price increases seem to have done a little to impact housing affordability, according to a recent report by the Housing Industry Association. In fact, Australia's housing market appears to be at its most affordable level in more than five years despite recording a rebound in prices over the recent months.

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