It's well known that Canberra's house prices rocketed over the past two years, but what might raise eyebrows is that the capital was out-gunned by its regional neighbours.
According to the latest Domain House Price Report, Canberra's median house price increased by 21.1 per cent year-on-year to $1,124,952.
But that performance was left in the shade by house prices across the border, which increased by more than 22 per cent within the same period. One region outperformed all others - the Snowy Monaro region snowballed by 56 per cent in just 12 months.
However, agents said the winds of change had since swept in on the back of rising interest rates, tighter lending restrictions, inflation, the federal election and other disruptions, such as the return of other spending options like international travel.
Michael Henley of Henley Property, who specialises in the Snowy Monaro region, said the fear of missing out (FOMO) which drove the price extremes seen in the past two years had been replaced by a new paradigm.
"Buyers could now be said to be exhibiting a fear of paying too much, and that's a big turnaround in attitude," he said.
Henley said the change had begun to seep in around last October and now expressed itself in properties spending more time on the market with a higher degree of buyer caution around prices.
"The Snowy Monaro region is still an attractive proposition to buyers, but there's been something of a recalibration in the buyer mindset," he said.
"The highs of the last two years saw prices in Jindabyne double - and more - across all dwelling types. Units went from the high $100,000s to $400,000. Berridale was the same: a $300,000 house became $600,000. And that was a typical phenomenon across the region.
"We're not seeing that kind of emotion driving prices now."
Pat Jameson of Blackshaw Coastal in Batemans Bay said demand for South Coast properties had soared during the pandemic, driving incredible price growth.
"I recall one example where a house in Batemans Bay went from $750,000 to $1.2 million in one year," she said.
"I think the pandemic drove a lot of the South Coast attraction. People who could no longer travel changed their focus to the appeal of a holiday home or relocation to the region."
Jameson said a reverse movement also occurred, with coastal residents, whose homes had soared in value, taking the opportunity to downsize.
"For example, I had one seller who took advantage of strong local prices and moved to Western Australia with its significantly lower median price," she said.
George Southwell of Ray White Rural Canberra and Yass said people had chased affordability in the regions while the work-from-home movement had opened new buyer options.
"Buyer interest out of Sydney had traditionally only extended to the Southern Highlands," he said.
"That area simply became too expensive and buyers then shifted their sights onto the capital region with its greater value for money."
Southwell said he believed the recent federal election had somewhat dampened market enthusiasm, but that wasn't unexpected.
"It's a definite trend around election cycles where people adopt a wait-and-see approach to the policies of a potential incoming government," he said.
"Vendor expectations are now certainly settling around the levels of price guides, but that's an opportunity for proven agents to demonstrate their skills and negotiate the best possible outcome for sellers."
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