Housing market conditions ended the 2018 calendar year on a weak note, with the rate of decline consistently worsening over the year. National dwelling values were down 2.3% over the December quarter; the largest quarter on quarter decline since the December quarter of 2008
According to the CoreLogic December home value index results, the downturn in Australian housing conditions accelerated through 2018, driven by consistently larger quarter-on-quarter declines in Sydney and Melbourne together with a reprisal in Perth’s rate of decline and slowing conditions across the remaining capital cities and most regional markets. The year finished with national dwelling values down 4.8%, ranging from an 8.9% fall in Sydney values through to a 9.9% rise in values across regional Tasmania.
Most regions of Australia recorded a weaker housing market performance in 2018 relative to 2017. Four of the eight capital cities recorded a decline in dwelling values over the calendar year led by Sydney (-8.9%) and Melbourne (-7.0%), while values were also lower across Perth (-4.7%) and Darwin (-1.5%). The remaining capital cities recorded a rise in values, although conditions weren’t as strong as 2017 with every capital city recording a weakening in the pace of growth or an acceleration in the rate of decline over the year.
According to CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless, the broad weakening in housing market conditions in 2018 highlights that this slowdown goes well beyond the correction in Sydney and Melbourne.
He said, “Although Australia’s two largest cities are the primary drivers for the weaker national reading, most regions around the country have reacted to tighter credit conditions by recording weaker housing market results relative to 2017.
“The two exceptions were regional Tasmania, where the pace of capital gains was higher relative to 2017 resulting in a nation leading 9.9% gain in values over the 2018 calendar year, and Darwin, where the annual rate of decline improved from -8.9% in 2017 to -1.5% in 2018.”
The December CoreLogic housing market results take national dwelling values down by a cumulative 5.2% since peaking in October 2017. Values across the combined capitals are down a larger 6.7% since peaking, while regional dwelling values have been more resilient to falls, down by 1.5%.
Although Sydney and Melbourne recorded the weakest conditions, the peak to current declines are much less severe relative to Perth and Darwin where values have been falling since mid-2014. Sydney values are now 11.1% lower relative to the July 2017 peak and Melbourne values are down 7.2% since peaking in November 2017. The downturn has been running much longer in Perth and Darwin, resulting in cumulative falls of 15.6% and 24.5% respectively.
At the end of 2018, Sydney values were back to where they were in August 2016, while Melbourne values are back to February 2017 levels. Perth values are back to levels last seen in March 2009 and Darwin dwelling values are at October 2007 levels.