Home value recovery wipes out losses

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A recovery in home values hasn't taken long in Australia.

Gains in home values over the first four months of 2009 have virtually eliminated any losses seen in 2008, according to the latest index on home values in the country.

Overall, national dwelling values are up 2.8% in April from the start of the year, according to the RP Data/Rismark Australian Home Value Index. The index traces the value of all types of dwellings across Australia, and unlike a median sales price, are inclusive of properties not on the market as well.

Only Perth failed to show an increase in home values in 2009 on the index, with housing values down 0.8% over the first four months, and down 5.7% over the past 12 months.

Darwin remained the best performing capital city, with housing values up 5.3% from January and 14.7% since April last year. Aside from those capital gains, investors might also be tempted by rental yields in Darwin as well, which were at a national best 6.3% for houses and units as well, according to the index.

"Gross rental yields are likely to peak over the coming months, suggesting that now is probably the best time for investors to roll up their sleeves and become active," said RP Data National Research Director Tim Lawless.

The lowest rental yields were in Melbourne, at 4.2% for houses and 4.8% for units.  Despite this, Melbourne had the second highest gain in home value since the start of the year, up 4.5%. It also had the shortest time on the market for houses, at 32 days.

Overall, units continued to perform better than houses, growing 3.3% in value in the first four months of 2009, while house values increased 2.7%.

The report follows some other uplifting news as well. A survey of 7,500 people in 24 nations by Servcorp, a provider of virtual and serviced offices, showed one in five business people thought Australia was the country best surviving the global recession.

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