(Australian Associated Press)
Australian city house prices have posted an annual fall for the first time since November 2012, once again driven by lower prices in the two largest property markets.
National house prices retreated 0.1 per cent in April, the seventh straight month of declining prices, the latest data from CoreLogic shows.
Prices in Sydney and Melbourne, both fell 0.4 per cent for the month, pulling capital city values down 0.3 per cent, despite rises in Adelaide of 0.1 per cent and in Darwin and Canberra of 0.6 per cent.
Hobart was the only city where dwelling values rose by more than 1.0 per cent in April, up 1.2 per cent in the month, and up 12.7 per cent over the past year.
CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said after performing in the shadow of city markets for the last 13 years, the combined regions are now consistently outperforming the capitals.
Annual prices have climbed 9.8 per cent in Victoria’s Geelong and 9.2 per cent in NSW’s Southern Highlands, and Shoalhaven.
“The latest trends are virtually the opposite of what we have become used to over the past five or so years, regional areas are now outperforming the capitals and units are outperforming houses,” Mr Lawless said.
CBA senior economist Kristina Clifton said over the past year units are up 1.9 per cent while house values have dropped 1.0 per cent
“Unit prices may be holding up better because they tend to be located in the larger capital cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, where population growth is strong,” Ms Clifton said.
The weaker conditions have been attributed to tighter credit policies which have slowed investor activity, with annual growth in investor housing credit up 2.5 per cent, compared to owner-occupier housing credit, which rose 8.1 per cent in the year to March.
Housing Industry of Australia senior economist Shane Garrett said heavier stamp duty bills on foreign investors has also impacted Sydney.
Sydney values are 4.3 per cent below their July 2017 peak, but still a full 66 per cent above their most recent low point of May 2012, Mr Garrett said.
In most capital cities, price growth has been weakest for the most expensive properties.
In Sydney, houses that make up the most expensive 25 per cent are down 6.3 per cent over the year, compared with a 0.5 per cent increase for the bottom 25 per cent of dwellings.
Sydney: Down 1.2pct in the three months to April 2018, down 3.4pct in past 12 months
Melbourne: Down 0.7pct in past three months, up 3.7pct in past 12 months
Brisbane: Down 0.1pct in past three months, up 0.9pct in past 12 months
Adelaide: Down 0.2pct in past three months, up 0.8pct in past 12 months
Perth: Up 0.1pct in past three months, down 2.3pct in past 12 months.
Combined capitals: Down 0.7pct in past three months, down 0.3pct in past 12 months.
Data by CoreLogic.