Dwelling values across Australia’s capital cities were 0.9% higher in January driven partially by a rebound in Sydney and Melbourne. The recent growth conditions have pushed the Melbourne market into first place for annual growth in dwelling values with an 11.0% rise compared with Sydney where values are 10.5% higher over the past twelve months.
According to the January 2016 CoreLogic RP Data Hedonic Home Value Index results released today, dwelling values across Australia’s combined capital cities showed a 0.9 per cent rise in January after recording no change in December and a 1.5 per cent drop in November.
According to CoreLogic RP Data head of research Tim Lawless, this month on month rise wasn’t quite enough to pull the rolling quarterly rate of growth back into the black, with capital city dwelling values remaining 0.6% lower over the past three months. Hobart led the monthly figures with a 4.7% jump in values, followed by Melbourne where values were 2.5% higher and Canberra with a 2.8% lift. Sydney values also showed a rise of 0.5%, while the remaining four capital cities showed dwelling values to be either flat or down.
Index results as at January 31, 2016
The rolling quarterly trend was looking similarly diverse, with four of Australia’s eight capital cities recording negative dwelling value movements over the past three months, with Sydney dwelling values showing the largest fall, down 2.1 per cent. Values are down over the rolling quarter in Darwin (-1.4%), Adelaide (-0.9%) and Melbourne (-0.1%) as well. The strongest growth in home values over the quarter across the capital cities was found in Hobart with a 3.0% capital gain.
Despite recording the largest annual decline in home values (-4.1%), Perth dwelling values posted a 1.7 per cent rise over the three months to the end of January. Other capital cities to record a rise over the rolling quarter were Brisbane (+0.8%) and Canberra (+1.2%).
Over the past twelve months, capital city dwelling values have risen by 7.4% with Sydney’s capital gains of 10.5% no longer the highest annual rate across the capitals. “While still a high rate of annual growth, Sydney’s annual rate of capital gain is now at a 29 month low and has been progressively softening since peaking at 18.4% in July last year,” Mr Lawless said.
“Melbourne’s housing market has been more resilient to slowing growth conditions which has propelled the annual growth rate to the highest of any capital city, with dwelling values 11.0% higher over the past twelve months. Previously, during the height of the growth phase, there was a large separation between Sydney’s housing market, which was streaking ahead, and Melbourne’s, where the rate of capital gain was substantial but still well below the heights being recorded in Sydney. The latest data reveals Sydney’s housing market is now playing second fiddle to Melbourne’s, at least in annual growth terms.”
“In fact, over the past six months, the performance gap between Sydney and Melbourne is stark. Sydney dwelling values have reduced by 0.6 per cent between July last year and the end of January 2016, compared with a 3.0 per cent rise across Melbourne dwelling values. The last six months have also seen both Brisbane and Canberra dwelling values rise by 2.0 per cent while Hobart values are 1.3 per cent higher and Adelaide dwelling values have been virtually flat with a 0.1 per cent rise,” Mr Lawless said.
The annual pace of growth across the Canberra market has been progressively improving, with values up 6.0% over the past twelve months; the strongest annual gain since November 2010. The nation’s capital has benefitted from improved buyer confidence while rising demand has seen much of the housing oversupply absorbed, particularly across the detached housing market where gains have been the highest.
While the pace of growth in dwelling values across the combined capitals has eased from the heights of mid last year, rental growth across the capital cities over the past twelve months has reduced further, with dwelling rents unchanged over the year.
According to Mr Lawless, with a rental series that extends back to 1996, these are the weakest rental markets conditions ever seen. “In fact there hasn’t previously been a twelve month period when rents didn’t rise across our combined capitals index.” he says.
Darwin and Perth are dragging the broader capital cities’ rental indicators down with weekly rents down 13.4% over the past year in Darwin and 8.6% lower in Perth. Dwelling rents were also down in Brisbane (-0.7%) and Adelaide (-0.4%). The largest rental increases were in Sydney and Melbourne where weekly rents rose 1.4% higher, and 2.1% higher respectively over the past twelve months.
Mr Lawless said, “With dwelling values rising substantially more than rents in Sydney and Melbourne, this ongoing effect has created a compression in gross rental yields to the extent that gross yields in these cities are now only marginally higher than record lows.”
According to the most recent Reserve Bank’s private sector housing credit data, the pace of investment-related credit growth has fallen well below the 10% speed limit implemented by APRA in December 2014.
Mr Lawless said, “The slower pace of investment credit is likely to be due to more than just higher mortgage rates for investment loans and stricter lending policies, but also due to investors becoming wary of the low rental yield scenario while also anticipating lower capital gains than what was recorded last year.”
“As housing market activity moves out of its seasonally slow festive period, we are likely to have a much better gauge on how the overall housing market is performing in the New Year.
“January tends to be a relatively quiet month across the housing market, however across the capital cities we estimate that there were approximately 16,500 dwelling sales contracted in January.
“Additionally, while the number of auctions won’t return to normal until early February, the weighted average auction clearance rate across the capital cities over the final weekend of January was 61.6%; higher than what was recorded during December when the weighted average clearance rate was between 57% and 59% from week to week.
“The bounce in dwelling values in January may provide an early sign that housing values across the combined capital cities are not likely to experience material decreases in 2016. We believe that the rate of capital gain across the combined capitals in 2016 is likely to be less than the 7.8% experienced in 2015, driven by a slowdown in Sydney and Melbourne and continued softness in the Perth and Darwin markets,” Mr Lawless said.