Although the CoreLogic national hedonic index series trended lower in March, the actual rate of decline has been easing over the past three months. In fact, Mr Lawless confirmed that the 0.6% drop in March was actually the smallest of the month-on-month declines since values fell by 0.5% in October last year.
Commenting on the results, Mr Lawless said, “While the pace of falls has slowed in March, the scope of the downturn has become more geographically widespread.”
Dwelling values were down across six of the eight capital cities, with Canberra values holding firm while Hobart values were 0.6% higher. Most of the ‘rest of state’ regions, which comprise the areas outside the capital cities, also recorded a fall in values; the exceptions being regional Tasmania (+0.5%) and regional South Australia (+0.3%).
The quarterly trend in dwelling values is showing a similar pattern, with six of the eight capitals recording a fall in values over the March quarter, led by Darwin (-3.9%), Melbourne (-3.4%) and Sydney (-3.2%).
National dwelling values have been trending lower for seventeen months and have fallen by a cumulative 7.4% since peaking in October 2017. Despite the broad based weakness, the national index remains 15.9% higher relative to five years ago, highlighting that most property owners remain in a strong equity position.
Markets where values peaked much earlier have shown a more substantial downturn. In Darwin and Perth, where weak housing market conditions were driven by post mining boom weaker economic and demographic conditions, dwelling values have fallen by a cumulative 27.5% and 18.1% respectively since peaking in 2014. Mr Lawless said, “The silver lining here is that housing is now very affordable and first home buyers are proportionally much more active relative to other areas of the country.”
On the other hand, Mr Lawless noted that dwelling values remain at record highs across Hobart and regional Tasmania, and only marginally lower in Canberra (-0.2%), Adelaide (-0.5%) and Brisbane (-1.6%), as well as regional Victoria (-0.8%). Although housing market conditions remain relatively healthy in these regions, conditions have noticeably softened over the past twelve month with values either slipping or the pace of growth slowing materially.