Canberra house prices on the up, as Sydney, Melbourne markets tumble

Canberra house prices continue to trend upwards, bucking a nationwide decline driven by major falls in the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

The ACT rounded out 2018 with a median house price of $672,332, up 3.6 per cent in the past 12 months, according to data from housing research firm CoreLogic.

The growth did slow toward the back end of 2018, with house prices increasing by just 0.7 per cent in the December quarter, and remaining steady in the final month of the year.

Apartment prices rose to $440,813 in 2018, up 2.2 per cent. Overall, property prices in the ACT rose 3.3 per cent last year.

Canberra's growth was bettered only by Hobart among major Australian cities in 2018, with house prices in the Tasmanian capital increasing by 8.3 per cent.

Nationwide, property prices fell by 4.8 per cent over the past 12 months - the worst result in a decade.

The slump was driven by major falls in Sydney and Melbourne, where house prices fell by 10 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively.

Sydney’s dwelling prices have fallen back to the same level they were in August 2016, before the peak of the real estate boom, while Melbourne’s prices are now at February 2017 levels.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said in a statement that Melbourne and Sydney were the primary reasons for the lower national result, though most regions across Australia had “reacted to tighter credit conditions by recording weaker housing markets relative to 2017”.

Perth house prices by dropped 4.3 per cent in 2018, while property values in Darwin fell by 1.5 per cent.

Adelaide (1.3 per cent increase) and Brisbane (0.2 per cent increase) recorded modest growth in the past 12 months.

Master Builders Association of the ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said Canberra's housing sector was showing signs of slowing down after year of record growth.

Mr Hopkins said the introduction of tighter lending controls partly explained the slowdown, along with rising land prices in the ACT.