ACT News

Canberra house values go backwards in 2014, again bucking capital city trend

Canberra is yet again the kid left behind, waiting to be picked up after school - clocking up another year as the only city to record an annual fall in home values in 2014.

The December CoreLogic RP Data Home Value Report also reveals Canberra to be the weakest performing capital city in the last quarter of 2014, when dwelling values  slipped by 3.4 per cent. 

In the same period Perth, Sydney and Brisbane recording the greatest quarterly gains, rising 2.8 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

Canberra was also the only capital city to record falling values  across 2013, according to the Australian Property Monitors.

This year, according to the new report, dwelling values in Canberra fell by 0.6 per cent.

"Despite the positive result across most cities, the annual rate of capital gain across Australia's capital city housing market has continued to slow," CoreLogic RP Data senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said.

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Canberra units were hit the hardest in the past quarter with values dipping by 4.2 per cent while house values slid by 3.4 percent. 

In the three months to December, the median dwelling price in Canberra stood at $520,000, surpassed by Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin - although that is a rise from winter's $510,500 median price.

The bad news is that things are not looking up for 2015. Tim Lawless, CoreLogic RP Data's head of research, said the easing values in the Canberra market were expected to last. 

"Conditions are clearly softening across Perth, Darwin and Canberra and we expect this trend to continue," Mr Lawless said.

Nationally the rate of growth slowed to 7.9 per cent over the 12 months to December.

This year should see slower "more sustainable" rates of growth, with the heat coming out of booming market, Mr Lawless said.

"Sydney and Melbourne have been the standouts for capital gains over the current growth phase, however the level of growth compared with last year is now lower as some heat leaves these markets," he said.

He said to watch Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart for "stronger performance over the coming year" after "some acceleration in the rate of capital gain over the past year".

For those letting out their properties, the report notes that "rental growth is sitting at its lowest annual rate in more than a decade" nationally.

Combined capital city rents increased by just 1.8 per cent over the past year with house rents increasing by 1.7 per cent over and units 2.4 per cent, according to the report.

Gross rental yields in December in Canberra sat at 4.2 per cent for houses and 5 per cent for units.

This was compared with 3.7 per cent for houses and 4.5 per cent for units nationally, down from 3.9 per cent for houses and 4.6 per cent for units Australia-wide at the same time last December. 

Mr Kusher said demand for housing may slow this year.

"Low rental yields and the likelihood of tougher lending criteria to investment buyers will likely dampen the very active investor segment of the market which may in turn reduce housing demand in 2015," he said.