Regional areas in New South Wales and Victoria have recorded strong price growth over the latter months of 2017.
According to The QBE Australian Housing Outlook Update 2018, the strong performance of regional centres in the two states was in response to the first home buyer stamp duty exemptions introduced in July 2017.
"Newcastle experienced strong house price growth as did Geelong and, to a lesser extent, Ballarat," QBE said.
House prices in NSW's Wollongong dropped slightly but are still well above the $650,000 threshold for the first home buyer stamp duty exemption; in fact, they are hovering close to the $800,000 limit where the concession is removed in its entirety.
Meanwhile, Victoria's Bendigo recorded a flat growth in dwelling values, as did Queensland's regional centres such as Toowoomba and Gold Coast.
In Tasmania, home prices in Launceston grew at a faster rate than expected, benefitting from the housing boom in Hobart.
QBE said these regional centres should expect a modest price growth for the rest of the year, and that Launceston, Newcastle, Geelong and Ballarat have the potential to see better than average growth in prices.
"This is due to strong first home buyer demand in New South Wales and Victoria and some buyers looking to Launceston as a more affordable alternative to Hobart," QBE said.