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Property price falls moderate as spring activity increases

Property prices across the country were widespread in September, but the pace of falls moderated significantly, with the national median value of a home in Australia now at $752,000.

According to the latest PropTrack Home Price Index, the fall was the smallest since national prices started dropping in April, but senior economist Paul Ryan said it wasn’t cause to celebrate just yet.

“The easing in declines comes as sellers hit the market for the typically busy spring season,” he said.

“September also saw activity disrupted by public holidays.

“The moderation in prices falls does not herald the end of declines; interest rates have continued to increase and expectations of a hike today will push prices lower throughout spring.

“While we expect home prices to continue to fall across the country in 2022 and into 2023, we will see a pick-up in market activity for spring in October as public holidays have delayed some selling activity so far.”

The index also showed that Sydney and Melbourne, which had been leading price declines, saw falls ease.

Melbourne property prices dropped 0.29 per cent and are below their level a year ago for the first time since 2019.

“Prices are now 2 per cent below their level in September 2021 and 5 per cent below their peak earlier in the year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Prices falls are expected to continue in Melbourne over the coming months as higher interest rates constrain borrowing capacities.”

Sydney saw prices decrease 0.18 per cent in September and are now 3.65 per cent below what they were in 2021.

“Higher interest rates are affecting higher-priced regions most, with Sydney – the most expensive region in the country – feeling these effects,” Mr Ryan said.

Hobart was the only capital city to record positive growth in September, with prices rising just 0.05 per cent to a median value of $728,000.

Regional areas in Tasmania and South Australia continued to defy national falls, hitting new peaks in September.

Prices in regional Tasmania climbed 0.08 per cent, while in regional SA, they rose 0.55 per cent. 

In Brisbane, prices are now 2.2 per cent below the price peak recorded in April, but remain 12 per cent up over the past year, after recording annual growth rates north of 30 per cent early in 2022.

“Strong migration flows to South East Queensland are likely to prevent Brisbane experiencing the largest price falls over the next year,” Mr Ryan said.

In Perth, prices dropped 0.29 per cent in September and have been sliding lower in the second half of the year, while Darwin recorded the largest price decrease of the capital cities in September at 0.37 per cent.

For the second month in a row, Adelaide prices fell 0.16 per cent.

“Despite this, Adelaide is the strongest performing capital city market over the past year, up 16 per cent, with regional SA the only stronger market nationwide,” Mr Ryan said.

The ACT also recorded a slight dip in property prices in September of 0.09 per cent.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.