Falling house prices below the national average are becoming rampant across Canberra for the first time in over three years.
Strong growth in major cities Sydney and Melbourne is leaving the ACT region lagging behind in the ranks. The territory fell from first to third, from 2011 to 2014, in terms of mean house values and was overtaken by New South Wales and Western Australia. Victoria looks ready to overtake it as well.
Shane Garrett, senior economist of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said it was likely the national average would overtake Canberra by the middle of 2015.
"The public sector is the reason here . . . employment growth in the ACT has been weaker than the national average and you've also had the situation where people coming into the ACT to live from other states has dropped off as a result of weaker activity in the public sector," he said.
Meanwhile, chief minister Andrew Barr viewed the improved affordability as a good thing for homebuyers eyeing the Canberra property market.
"More affordable housing assists in attracting and retaining younger people in the city," he said.
He added there was a close correlation between the labour market and the housing market in the ACT.