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Five of Australia’s eight capital cities all had lower home values over November, dropping the combined capitals index by 1.5%, according to CoreLogic RP Data’s Hedonic Home Value Index for November.

Tim Lawless, head of research for CoreLogic RP Data, noted that both Sydney and Melbourne showed symptoms of slower housing market conditions earlier this year, which persisted throughout November.

Over the month, Melbourne home values dropped by 3.5%, and Sydney’s fell by 1.4%.Three other capital cities also suffered decreases: Hobart lowered by 2.4%, Darwin was down by 1.3%, and Canberra took a 0.5% hit. The combined capitals housing index saw a 1.5% drop over November, with the rolling quarterly rate of change at -0.5%.

On the other hand, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth—the remaining capital cities—all posted increases, at 0.7%, 0.6%, and 0.3%, respectively.

“The latest results are now placing downwards pressure on the annual change in dwelling values. The annual rate of growth across the combined capitals index peaked at 11.5% back in April 2014, and has since reduced to 8.7%.” Lawless observed.

Sydney continues to post the highest annual growth rate with 12.8%. The city had previously reached a peak rate of 18.4% last July. Melbourne’s annual growth rate also dropped, from its previous peak of 14.2% to 11.8% over the year ending November this year.

The capital cities whose values declined over the past year are Darwin, at -4.2%, and Perth, with -4.1%. For Perth, it is believed that weaker economic conditions and a stunted population growth caused the city’s housing market to prematurely peak at December last year, while Darwin’s housing market peaked in May 2014.

“The fact that mortgage rates have risen independently of the cash rate has, in all likelihood, become a contributor to the slowdown in housing market conditions, as well as tighter lending practices evidenced by a recent reduction in lender risk appetite for investment loans and high loan to valuation ratio mortgages,” Lawless pointed out.

Lawless also mentioned that more stringent mortgage servicing criteria and affordability issues in both Sydney and Melbourne’s housing markets are having an overall impact on market demand.

Thirteen of the country’s lenders all enacted their out-of-cycle mortgage rate hikes on November 20 in an attempt to raise additional capital ahead of the next financial year.


 

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