Our property markets finished the first quarter strongly – Tim Lawless

 Good news for property investors: after a flat February result, the March quarter finished in a strong fashion with the RP Data – Rismark Home Value Index showing dwelling values rising 2.3 per cent over the month to post a 3.5 per cent capital gain over the first quarter of the year.

Apart from Perth, every capital city recorded a rise in dwelling values over the past three months.

The Melbourne property market posted the highest level of growth at 5.4 per cent over the quarter with Sydney and Hobart also recording a strong result in the March quarter with values up 4.4 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

 

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Half of all Australia’s capital cities are now posting record high dwelling values.

Sydney’s housing market showing the most substantial increase beyond its previous market high with dwelling values are now 15.8 per cent higher than their previous peak, substantially more than Melbourne where dwelling values are 4.7 percent higher than their previous peak.

Perth and Canberra values have risen to be 2.9 and 1.2 per cent higher than their previous high point, respectively.

Based on today’s RP Data Rismark results, dwelling values have risen by a cumulative 15.8 per cent since the growth cycle commenced in June 2012.

A majority of this growth has occurred since June last year.

Dwelling values increased by just 2.9 per cent over the first twelve months of the cycle, however, since last June, values are up by close to 13 per cent.

Over the long term, I don’t believe such a strong pace of growth can be sustained – we expect housing market conditions to cool down as the year progresses.

If the pace of capital gains doesn’t slow, we may see higher interest rates realised much earlier than previously expected.

Rismark’s managing director, Ben Skilbeck pointed out that seasonality is likely to be having a positive influence on the latest monthly result.

“March and September have a history of being comparatively strong seasonal months for dwelling value changes. As such, there should be little surprise that, in the presence of high auction clearance rates and in the absence of any major economic changes, the March month delivered materially stronger performance than the flat February result.”


2 Mr Skilbeck said that Brisbane’s performance is worthy of note.

“Given this market remains 5.2 per cent below its previous peak and has one of the best rental yields of the capital cities, we’ve been looking for the commencement of relative outperformance, in particular compared to Melbourne.

With Brisbane dwelling values up 2.9 per cent for the month ended 31 March 2014, it now looks like the 2.0 per cent fall in February was representative of natural market volatility as opposed to being indicative of a downward trend,” he said.

Brisbane is likely to be the market to watch.

Compared with the other major capitals, Brisbane dwelling values have recorded a much softer performance despite a lift in buyer numbers and the strong yield scenario.

Looking at the performance of the housing market across broad price segments, the premium market remains as the best performer.[sam id=13 codes=’true’]

After posting a more substantial correction, dwelling values across the most expensive quarter of the market were up 7.2 per cent over the past six months while the lower priced quarter of the market saw values lift by a lower 4.9 per cent over the past six months.

Rental yields are falling.

Rental yields continued to taper over the month with the typical capital city house providing a gross yield of just 3.8 per cent and units showing a higher 4.6 per cent gross yield.

Gross rental yields have been falling since June 2013 when the pace of dwelling value growth picked up substantially.

While capital city home values are up 12.5 per cent since May last year, weekly rents have increased by just 1.8 per cent.

The bi-product of this disconnection in growth rates is that yields have been eroded consistently lower.

The situation is worse in Sydney and Melbourne. Since May last year Sydney home values are up 17.3 per cent while rents have moved by only 3.5 per cent.

Similarly in Melbourne, since May last year dwelling values have risen by 14.6 per cent while rents have crept only 1.5 per cent higher.

Melbourne and Sydney are showing the lowest gross yields of any capital city at just 3.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent gross respectively.

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Tim Lawless

About

Tim heads up the Core Logic RP Data research and analytics team, analysing real estate markets, demographics and economic trends across Australia. Visit www.corelogic.com.au


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