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What surprised the central bank? Parts of Australia are bucking history

Suburbs

Patterns in the latest rounds of property data are out of step with historical patterns and an “unusual” situation for investors in the 2019 market.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said that the fall in dwelling values across Sydney and Melbourne are out of the ordinary, particularly given the low mortgage rate environment and the declining unemployment rate.

The RBA observed that after rising by almost 50 per cent over the five years to September 2017, national housing prices fell by approximately 8 per cent to be back around mid-2016 levels.

Despite acknowledging the rise in property prices in Hobart and Canberra and “flat” price movements in Brisbane and Adelaide, the RBA noted the “significant” falls in Perth and Darwin and the “unusual” declines in Sydney and Melbourne.

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The “noticeable decline” in foreign investors may be contributing to these patterns, according to the RBA.

Further, some of the movements in housing prices could be explained by the fact that the supply of housing does not respond quickly to changes in demand.

“In particular, the run-up in housing prices had occurred during a period when housing supply had not picked up sufficiently to match higher demand from more rapid population growth,” the RBA said.

“Over time, higher housing prices had eventually led to a sizeable increase in supply, but this had taken longer than in previous cycles,” the RBA said.

When will prices go up?

It’s near impossible to pick the market, but analysis from accounting and advisory firm KPMG indicates prices in Melbourne and Sydney should start heading north around in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

KPMG said the “push and pull” of market factors, such as the amount of dwellings, population growth and investor borrowing, will follow the previous trajectory of market falls and revert to growth conditions.

“Our housing update shows that the tougher regulatory actions and taxation measures by both federal and state governments we identified last year have had a significant effect,” said Brendan Rynne, KPMG chief economist.

“There has been a falling-away in foreign interest, notably from China, and lending to domestic buyers has got stricter, while housing supply has increased. This is why prices have declined, but we believe that process will reach its peak over the next few months and then go into reverse later this year.”

What surprised the central bank? Parts of Australia are bucking history
Suburbs
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