National home prices hit new record in April

Higher interest rates haven’t dented property prices, which hit their peak nationally in April 2024, according to new data.

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The PropTrack Home Price Index for April 2024 revealed that national home prices rose 6.6 per cent annually and 0.23 per cent in April to a median value of $774,000.

This is despite the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raising interest rates 13 times since May 2022 to 4.35 per cent, the highest official cash rate since November 2011.

Property prices were at their peak in April in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

An influx of new listings boosted Sydney home prices by 0.25 per cent in April 2024 and 7.24 per cent annually. The median value is at an all-time high of $1.08 million.

Adelaide remains one of the country’s top-performing markets, with home prices up 13.99 per cent year on year to a median price of $730,000.

“The comparative affordability of the city’s homes has seen prices defy the significant increase in interest rates since May 2022,” the PropTrack report said.

“Low stock levels are also intensifying competition, with home prices in Adelaide rising at a fast pace over the past year.”

Brisbane was one of the strongest performing markets, with prices rising 12.82 per cent above April 2023 levels, and the median value sitting at $818,000.

Perth home prices had the highest annual growth of 20.16 per cent and monthly growth of 0.83 per cent in April 2024, while the median value rose to a peak of $678,000.

This was attributed to record low supply and strong buyer demand, coupled with the relative affordability of the city’s homes, population growth, and very tight rental markets which have seen home values rise.

However, several cities bucked this trend, with prices remaining 3.39 per cent below their March 2022 peak and recovery lagging behind Sydney and Brisbane, where prices completely recovered from the 2022 falls last year.

Melbourne home prices fell 0.1 per cent in April but remain up 1.1 per cent year on year, with a median price of $805,000.

Prices in capital cities have outpaced regional areas over the past year, according to the PropTrack report.

Nevertheless, prices in regional areas lifted 0.3 per cent in April to a new peak, outperforming the 0.21 per cent growth across the combined capitals. Growth was most evident in regional NSW (up 0.50 per cent), regional Western Australia (up 0.33 per cent), and regional Queensland (0.30 per cent).

Hobart home prices fell by 1.98 per cent annually but rose marginally in Darwin (0.16 per cent).

PropTrack senior economist and report author Eleanor Creagh said strong buyer demand has overtaken the rise in new listings this year, leading to higher home prices. She noted that while demand remains high, the pace of price growth is beginning to weaken.

“The stable interest rate environment has been a driver of confidence among buyers and sellers,” she said, noting that rates have remained at 4.35 per cent since November last year.

“Higher than expected inflation in the March quarter has pushed back the expected timing of rate cuts but most expect that the next move for interest rates will be down although the timing remains uncertain.”

She continued: “Strong population growth, tight rental markets, low unemployment and home equity gains are stimulating housing demand. Meanwhile, the supply side of the housing market has fallen short in responding to substantial demand.”

Building activity is at decade-low levels, she said, which has intensified the housing supply shortage.

“Despite some easing in population growth, this mismatch between supply and demand is expected to persist in mitigating the downward effects of affordability challenges and a decelerating economy,” Creagh said.

“As a result, prices are expected to remain on the rise in the months ahead.”

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