In good news for property investors and home owners dwelling values across the combined capital cities of Australia recorded a 2.8% rise over the March quarter, taking the cumulative capital gain to 4.7% since the market bottomed out in May last year.
According to RPData dwelling values posted a solid rise over the month of March, increasing by 1.3 percent across the combined capital city index.
The positive conditions were broad based, with every capital city recording a rise, apart from Adelaide where the market remained steady over the month. Perth has recorded the highest level of growth over the month with dwelling values surging 3.4 per cent.
Hobart and Darwin also recorded a large lift in dwelling values, rising 2.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively over the month.
Every capital city apart from Adelaide (-0.5%) has seen dwelling values rise over the past quarter.
Rismark International CEO Ben Skilbeck commented,
“The March 2013 result is one of the strongest we’ve seen over the 3 years since March 2010. Not only were there no value falls recorded across the capital cities, but, over the past 3 years, the all dwellings result of +1.32 per cent for the month was second only to the +1.40 per cent increase observed in September 2012. Further, it was the strongest quarterly growth seen since the 3 month period ending May 2010.”
RP Data research director Tim Lawless said:
“Since the capital city housing market bottomed out at the end of May last year we have seen dwelling values rise by 4.7 per cent after falling by 7.4 per cent from their market peak back in late 2010. The most significant recoveries have been recorded across Darwin where values have risen 13.9 per cent since bottoming out in January last year, and Perth where values are up 9.4 per cent since the market trough in November 2011.”
“Both these cities are recording rental growth higher than 10 per cent year on year which is providing a significantly higher total return compared with other cities. The RP Data-Rismark Accumulation Index, which factors in the gross yield as well as capital gains, is showing a total year on year gross return in Darwin of 13.9 percent and Perth is recording a total gross return of 10.6 per cent, both significantly higher than the combined capitals average of 6.9 per cent gross.”
The market is segmented
Across the broad price segments, it looks as if the middle priced housing sector is continuing to show the healthiest market fundamentals.
Based on the RP Data-Rismark Stratified Hedonic Index, dwelling values across the middle sixty per cent of the housing market have increased by 1.6 per cent over the year to February, compared with a 0.9 per cent fall in dwelling values at the most affordable end of the housing market, and a 0.6 per cent fall at the most expensive end of the pricing spectrum.
Investors are back
According to Rismark’s Ben Skilbeck, a review of housing credit aggregates indicates that the investor segment of the housing market is showing greater responsiveness to the low interest rate environment than the owner occupier segment.
Credit growth for the 12 months to end February was 3.9 per cent in the owner occupied segment compared to the investor segment at 5.6 per cent.
“With gross capital city unit rental yields now at 4.9 per cent, and a number of short term fixed rate loans also being offered at these levels, it’s not surprising to see investors responding to these conditions more quickly than owner occupiers”.
Apart from the capital gains being recorded across the housing market, other indicators are continuing to suggest the housing market recovery will continue. Mr Lawless points out that both auction market and private treaty indicators are showing strong results.
RP Data’s mortgage platforms have also shown a surge in activity.
“Auction clearance rates haven’t been below 55 per cent on any occasion so far this year, and over recent weeks the capital city weighted average clearance rate has been around the 60 percent mark with Melbourne and Sydney nudging the 70 mark. Additionally, vendors selling their homes by private treaty have been discounting their prices by a lesser amount in order to make a sale. The average selling time was consistently shortening prior to the Christmas / New Year slow down.”
“RP Data’s Mortgage Index, which tracks activity across the RP Data mortgage platforms, reached levels not seen since August 2009, suggesting housing finance commitments are likely to show a decent lift when the ABS publishes the data for February and March later this year.”