House prices slump in March quarter but rents soar

By webmaster

Australia’s capital city property values took a hit in the first quarter of 2011, figures from RP Data and Rismark have confirmed, but growth in rental prices has only strengthened.

Australia’s national capital city values fell by 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, seasonally adjusted, to rest at $455,000, according to RP Data and Rismark’s latest Hedonic Index.

Over the twelve months ending March 2011, Australian capital city dwelling values were broadly unchanged (-0.6 per cent). In contrast, weekly rental prices have increased by 4.6 per cent in just the past six months.

“In contrast to the fall in home values, gross rental yields have been improving with apartments and houses now delivering a gross return of 4.9 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively, in March 2011 according to RP Data- Rismark’s estimates,” RP Data’s research director Tim Lawless said.

Mr Lawless said investors could find the highest yields in the Darwin apartment market (5.7 per cent), Hobart apartment market (5.4 per cent), Canberra (5.4 per cent), Brisbane (5.2 per cent) and Sydney (5.1 per cent).

According to Mr Lawless, Brisbane recorded the weakest results for value growth over both the quarter and the year.

“Unsurprisingly, the flooding that has occurred within South East Queensland has likely compounded Brisbane’s weak market conditions.

“Brisbane homes were the worst performers during the March quarter, with values tapering sharply by -4.6 per cent seasonally adjusted. Brisbane values are down 6.8 per cent over the year to March 2011,” he said.

Mr Lawless added that capital growth was likely to be subdued for the remainder of the year.

“Clearance rates are bouncing around the low 50 per cent mark each week, the number of homes being advertised for sale is almost 30 per cent higher than at the same time last year, and sellers are being forced to adjust down their price expectations.

“Before there is any real upward pressure on home values there will need to be some absorption of effective supply and a return of sustained buyer confidence to the market.”

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