Sydney remains in price driving seat

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Claims that Sydney’s property boom might be drawing to a close have been dealt a blow by the latest residential property price figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
According to the ABS quarterly Residential Property Price Index (RPPI), Sydney’s dwelling prices rose by 2.3% in the March quarter.
Established house prices rose 2.4% and attached dwellings prices rose 2.0%.
Robin Ashburn, from the ABS, said that, while Sydney’s growth had slowed from the December quarter, house prices rose 16.6% and attached dwelling prices rose 13.7% over the year.
“These were both the largest annual rises of all cities.”
Using the weighted average of the eight capital cities, the RPPI rose 1.7% over the quarter.
Ashburn said this was an 10.9% over the previous year which was the largest annual increase since the June quarter 2010.
Apart from Canberra, which recorded a fall of -0.1%, prices in all the capital cities rose over the quarter.
Melbourne was second after Sydney with a rise of 2.1%, followed in third place by Hobart which recorded a rise of 1.4%.
Ashburn said the figures contributed to a rise in the total value of residential dwellings to $5.1 trillion over the March quarter. This meant the average value of Australia's 9.3 million residential dwellings was $546,500.
SQM Research director Louis Christopher said the ABS results showed that Canberra was continuing to struggle and that Perth (which rose by 1.1%) was slowing.
He also felt that the Melbourne results were too optimistic and that, despite a strong quarter, growth in Sydney was easing after the last “crazy” months of 2013.
“Brisbane is not rapidly picking up as hoped by some of the bulls,” he said. “ But I am a believer momentum is building in South East Queensland and future quarters may well record faster price rises.”
The ABS annual result suggested the SQM forecast of 15-20% growth for Sydney was on track, with house prices rising 16% over the year to March, Christopher added.
“Our national 7-11% forecast with the ABS index as the benchmark, is looking the goods.”

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