The end of 2015 was a soft one for Australia's median capital city house price, with it snapping a significant price rise streak.

Released last week, the latest Real Estate Market Facts report from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) revealed that over the December 2015 quarter the median price for a house in an Australian capital city slipped 0.4% to $695,788, the first time in 13 quarters that a price fall has been recorded.

Over the same period the median price for a capital city slipped 0.7% to $543,468.

While the combined capital city price may have gone backwards over the December 2015 quarter, conditions were not uniform across the country over the period.

“Strong growth in Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane, followed by marginal increases in Darwin and Perth, were unable to offset falling median house prices in Sydney and Melbourne while Adelaide recorded no change over the quarter,” REIA president Neville Sanders said.

“Sydney, the strongest market in the recent years, showed the largest decrease in median prices leaving some commentators speculating whether the city’s housing market has reached its peak,” Sanders said.

According to the REIA’s figures, Sydney’s median house price fell 2.5% to $1,025,478 in the December 2015 quarter, while Melbourne’s fell 0.1% to $718,000.

Hobart saw the largest increase for house prices with the median price jumping 9.8% to $392,000, while in Canberra the median house price increased 3.7% to $593,000 and in Brisbane it rose 3.2% to $490,000.

While the national median house price may have fallen over the quarter, it is still well up on a year-by-year basis, however Sanders said there is likely to be less activity from investors in the near future as changes to lending policies continue to be felt.

“Annual growth is still strong but lower compared to what we observed over the last couple of years. Compared to the December quarter of 2014, the weighted average median house price increased by 7.4%, while the figure for other dwellings went up by 5.7%,” he said.

“Regulatory frameworks are responsible for the decrease in the value of investment housing commitments. Uncertainty around the future on negative gearing arrangements is expected to further contribute to the decline in investor activity. With this, owner occupiers continue to have a strong presence in the stabilising market.”

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