ABS data confirms city markets dormant

Posted on 9/05/2011  

The latest data from the ABS has confirmed what we already knew about capital city house prices – there has been little movement in either direction in the first quarter of the year, with the exception of flood-affected Brisbane and over-the-top Melbourne.

Record numbers of homes for sale and low levels of buyer activity is not a formula for price growth – and the ABS House Price Indexes confirm this with no change (as an average across the eightcapital cities) in the month of March and an average 1.7% decline in the quarter.

Six of the eight capitals recorded increases in their price indexes in March but the rises were so minor, in most cases, as to be meaningless. Brisbane’s index dropped 3.6% in March, in line with expectations following the flood devastation in January.

If the March result for the other cities is repeated in subsequent months, however, it would signal market recovery, as the March result was somewhat better than January and February.

The quarterly results included minor rises for Perth and Hobart, equally insignificant falls in Canberra, Sydney, Darwin and Adelaide, and declines of 2.5% in Melbourne (retreating from the highs of 2010) and Brisbane (where the market is impacted by the floods).

The ABS figures essentially agree with earlier figures from Australian Property Monitors and RP Data, which depict city markets that are fairly dormant and delivering little in the way of price growth, nor any major price decline.


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