ACT housing down, and no quick fix
factbox - ACT housing story
Canberra's house prices have fallen and are not expected to recover in the near future, according to new property reports.
Median prices for houses and units in the territory were recorded as below the weighted average for capital cities, according to data issued by the Real Estate Institute of Australia and Bendigo Bank on Wednesday, with Canberra recording values lower than Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.
The median price for a house in the capital increased by 2 per cent over the December quarter to $515,000, but the figure represents a 1 per cent drop on 2011 figures.
Outside Canberra, the median house price in Melbourne surged by 7.8 per cent over the quarter while Hobart jumped by 7.4 per cent. The median unit price in Hobart also increased, by 6.3 per cent, over the three-month period.
Compared with the December quarter of 2011, the national weighted average median house price increased by 3.8 per cent, driven by the increases recorded in all capital cities over the previous quarter.
The results were the first signs of the ''long-awaited recovery'' for the residential property market, according to REIA president Peter Bushby.
''To those who have been predicting a housing market crash, I would strongly recommend to take a deep breath and have a look at the results recorded for the last quarter of 2012,'' he said.
In Canberra, however, sales activity shows no signs of rebounding, according to RP Data.
Levels of sales activity throughout the past year are estimated to be more than 20 per cent lower than the five-year annual average, according to an RP data report issued on Wednesday, with potential owners expected to hold off buying residential property until after the September vote.
''Sales activity has been trending lower across Canberra over recent years and, as yet, there are no signs of a sustainable rebound,'' it read. The report also highlighted the drop in home values over the past year, in contrast to the market's golden years of consistently outperforming the growth of the combined capital cities between 1999 and 2004.
''Over the most recent five years, house values have increased at an average annual rate of 2.3 per cent and units by 1.9 per cent,'' the report said.
''Over the five years to December 2007, growth in home values was much stronger, with house values recording an average annual increase of 9.6 per cent and unit values increasing by 7.9 per cent annually.''
According to the REIA report, the median price for houses in Canberra's inner south fell 0.6 per cent over the December quarter.
It was the only region in the capital to record a fall in house prices over the three-month period, but prices in the inner south, inner city, as well as west and north areas fell from December quarter 2011 figures.
Unit sales in the west and north were the exception to median price increases across the December quarter, recording a drop of 0.7 per cent.
It was also the only area to record a fall in prices over the year, of 4.3 per cent.
In Canberra, the median weekly rent for three-bedroom houses dropped 2.2 per cent over the quarter to $450 a week while the rate for two-bedroom units stayed unchanged over the quarter and the year at $440.