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BFCSA: Housing price decline is slowing, analysis reveals

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Housing price decline is slowing, analysis reveals

The Australian 12:00am April 30, 2019

Mackenzie Scott


Green shoots may be appearing in the housing market, with signs that credit is loosening as the ­national house prices decline slowed in April, according to preliminary monthly data from property researcher CoreLogic.

The daily Hedonic Home Value Index, which aggregates data from the five largest capitals, has shown the national rate of decline improved in the first 28 days of April. The rate sits at -0.5 per cent this month compared to -0.7 per cent in March.

But it is not all good news, with CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless warning weak housing conditions are likely to cement downward trends.

“Values aren't falling quite as much as they did the month prior, but we are also seeing more capital cities and regional markets move into a downturn. On one hand we are seeing the rate of decline nationally starting to ease off, but on the other we have seen more regions around the country move into some level of weakness,” he said.

Sydney and Melbourne have led the national improvement, with each city’s declines slowing by about 1 per cent since December. Declines in Sydney have improved from a 1.6 per cent fall in December to -0.6 per cent in April. The fall from peak 2017 prices sat at 13.9 per cent at the end of March, equivalent to $124,739. In Melbourne, declines remain softer at 0.5 per cent in April, compared to a drop of 1.5 per cent in December. Peak to trough declines have also been more modest at 10.3 per cent, or $71,404.

CoreLogic found that, nationally, median dwelling values had fallen 7.4 per cent from the market’s peak, or a drop of about $40,590.

While values were falling, the debt held against homes was unlikely to be dropping at the same pace, causing a loss of wealth for their owners, the researcher said.

The positive was that first-home buyers and other prospective buyers were more able to enter the market, particularly with mortgage rates at their lowest since the 1960s.

Mr Lawless said that an uptick in the ABS housing finance data and a rise in the number of valuations being recorded might suggest that banks were starting to loosen credit.

“I don’t think it is a trend just yet and I wouldn’t be confident in saying housing finance or credit availability has been freed up, but we are seeing some early indicators that that might be the case,” he said.

Brisbane and Adelaide, which had remained fairly insulated from negative market factors, have continued the slide that began last month, down 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

Perth’s weak housing market also experienced a small improvement, with prices falling 0.4 per cent in April.

Final CoreLogic data for the month of March will be released tomorrow.


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