After showing strong conditions through to September, the final quarter of 2015 ends with capital city dwelling values declining by 1.4%
Highlights over the three months to December 2015
Best performing capital city: Brisbane +1.3 per cent
- Weakest performing capital city: Sydney -2.3 per cent
- Highest rental yields: Hobart houses with gross rental yield of 5.4 per cent and Brisbane Units at 5.3 per cent
- Lowest rental yields: Melbourne houses with gross rental yield of 3.0 per cent and Melbourne units at 4.0 per cent
- Most expensive city: Sydney with a median dwelling price of $800,000
- Most affordable city: Hobart with a median dwelling price of $350,000
According to the CoreLogic RP Data Home Value Index, dwelling values were absolutely flat across the combined capitals during December, with negative movements in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra being offset by a rise in dwelling values across the remaining five capital cities.
The Sydney housing market was the main drag on the December results, with dwelling values down 1.2%, while values were down 1.5% in Adelaide and 1.1% in Canberra.
The remaining capitals saw a rise in dwelling values, led by a 2.3% bounce in Perth values and a 1.0% rise in Melbourne values over the month.
After dwelling values had been broadly rising since June 2012, the December quarter results revealed a 1.4% fall in dwelling values across the combined capitals, the largest quarter on quarter fall since December 2011.
Six of the eight capital cities recorded a negative result over the December quarter, with weaker conditions in Sydney and Melbourne acting as the greatest drag on capital city performance.
Over the December quarter, dwelling value declines were mostly confined to the premium end of the housing market.
The most expensive quartile of capital city dwellings saw values fall by 1.9% while the most affordable quartile recorded a 0.4% rise in values.
The largest quarterly fall was recorded in Sydney, where dwelling values were down 2.3% over the final three months of the year, followed by Melbourne, where dwelling values were 1.9% lower.
The only capital cities to show a rise in dwelling values over the December quarter were Brisbane (+1.3%) and Adelaide (+0.6%).
This was in contrast to the first three quarters of 2015, where capital city dwelling values rose by 9.3%, largely driven by a 14.1% surge in Sydney values and a 13.3% increase in Melbourne.
In stark contrast, the final quarter of 2015 showed Sydney as the weakest performer of any capital city, with dwelling values down by -2.3% while Melbourne recorded the second weakest result of -1.9%.
The complete 2015 calendar year results reveal a 7.8% increase in capital city dwelling values which is the lowest rate of capital gain over a calendar year since 2012 when values slipped 0.4% lower over the full year.
The markets are fragmented
Highlighting the diversity in the capital city housing markets, dwelling values fell across four of the eight capitals in the 2015 calendar year.
The largest of these falls were recorded in Perth, down by 3.7%, and Darwin down by 3.6%. Hobart and Adelaide also showed subtle falls of 0.7% and 0.1%.
Despite the recent weakening of housing market conditions in Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest capital city housing markets still recorded much stronger annual gains than all other capital cities, 11.5% in Sydney and 11.2% in Melbourne.
Dwelling values in Brisbane and Canberra were up a more sustainable 4.1% over the year.
Huge Wealth Effect
The wealth created from housing in Sydney and Melbourne has been exceptional over the past twelve months.
In dollar terms, Sydney home owners have seen approximately $82,000 added to their wealth thanks to the strong capital gains over the year while home owners in Melbourne have seen the value of their dwelling grow by approximately $60,400.
Brisbane home owners are $18,560 better off while Canberra owners have seen the value of their homes increase by approximately $21,900.
Home owners in the remaining capital cities have seen some erosion of their wealth via falls in the value of their dwelling.
The largest losses have occurred in Perth where the average dwelling is now worth approximately $19,970 less than it was 12 months ago, while Darwin home owners have seen the value of their home shrink by a similar $18,150.
The annual decline has been milder in Adelaide and Hobart, however dwelling values are still $515 lower in Adelaide over the year and down $2,430 in Hobart.
The slowdown in housing market conditions across Sydney and Melbourne in the last half of 2015 is being driven by a range of factors that can best be described as both organic and externally influenced.
Organic market conditions have been derived from affordability pressures, rental yield compression and cyclical factors, while factors from external influences largely stem from a change in the regulatory framework introduced by APRA which has made it more expensive and difficult for investors to access housing finance.
Added to this is higher mortgage rates and more restrictive credit policies and loan servicing requirements