Another year, another chance to make a big profit. But the game has changed.

Some markets have skyrocketed (we’re talking about Sydney and Melbourne) while others are starting to catch up.

Some experts are predicting dire future, while others see brighter days ahead.

Still, whether we like it or not, Australia’s property markets are shifting and will continue to see changes in the next 12 months.

“Two decades of prosperity and uninterrupted growth are coming to an end in 2015,” predicts Linda Phillips, economist with Propell.

“However, although the economy might struggle, and the stock market retreat, property investors are in a sweet spot to ride out the storms of 2015.”

Phillips pointed out that for property investors, there is only one game changer that matters: interest rates.

“The main game changer for property investors in 2015 is the level of interest rates,” she said.

“If the interest rates fall, the impact will be positive. The more interest rates fall, the better the impact on the economy, and economic growth would be positive for real estate.

Phillips added that lower interest rates reduce funding costs, and while the impact may be tempered by the imposition of macro-prudential controls, nevertheless they should act to enhance property values further.

“Every fall in interest rates is good for property investors. We would argue that more is needed and a rate of 1.5% is what is needed to stimulate the economy and turn it around, even at the cost of further increases in home prices,” she said.

How much extra prices would rise is a “how long is a piece of string” exercise, with so many variables according to Phillips.

She’s predicting that with strong interest from foreign buyers, whose real entry cost would be lowered by a lower exchange rate, the net effect could be that Sydney house prices rise by 15% and Melbourne prices by 12% .

The other capitals will be more modest, but growth of 5% to 8% might occur, instead of 3% or lower.

“Realistically, if Sydney prices started growing faster than 15% p.a. we’d expect to see APRA strengthening the macro-prudential controls, so in practice we think growth of 15% in Sydney to be the upper limit.”