Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

House prices frothy

Prices up strongly in Q4

The average price of a home rose by $78,900 in New South Wales in 2016, and by $54,300 in Victoria.

On the other hand average prices fell by $25,300 in Western Australia, and by $24,900 in the Northern Territory.

A proper mixed bag, you might say. 

Residential property prices rose by 4.1 per cent in Q4 2016 - right at the top end of the range of market forecasts - to be 7.7 per cent higher in 2016.

Melbourne (10.8 per cent), Sydney (10.3 per cent), and Hobart (8.8 per cent) recorded the strongest growth over the year. 

Prices fell by a further 1.5 per cent in Darwin, to be 7 per cent lower over the year, but there was another signal that Perth might be a step closer to turning a corner, with prices nudging marginally higher in the fourth quarter of the year.

The headlines will quite rightly generally speak of a divergence in price growth with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way by far. 

That said, looked at another way and over a longer time period, price growth may arguably be converging. 

Dwelling stock up to $6.4 trillion

The total value of dwelling stock has now increased by more than $2 trillion since Q3 2011, and increased by $0.49 trillion last year alone, following a short period of slower growth. 

This takes the total value of the dwelling stock to $6.44 trillion, or a record high ratio of 3.9 times annual GDP (half a decade ago the ratio was considered somewhat high at 3 times GDP).

At the state level some $1.1 trillion of the increase in the value of dwelling stock was seen in New South Wales, and a further $569 billion was centred in Victoria. 

Houses performing better

Detached house prices have generally outperformed units since 2003 rising by 111 per cent, compared to 83 per cent for units and apartments. 

In the December quarter Sydney houses prices increased by a thumping 6.1 per cent, and unit prices were up by 3.1 per cent.

The equivalent figures for Melbourne were 6 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

Finally the preliminary estimates shows an increase in the number of dwellings of 39,600 in the quarter to be 172,800 higher over the year. 

Over the past five years the number of dwellings has increased considerably faster in Western Australia (11.8 per cent) and Victoria (10.1 per cent) than has been the case in New South Wales (6.4 per cent). 

Melbourne's record population growth is absorbing this rate of dwelling construction, however, with vacancy rates in the Victorian capital declining close to a 10-year low in December. 

The wrap

Overall there were rapid increases in prices in the December quarter driven by the two largest capital cities plus Hobart, with the Reserve Bank referencing frothy conditions in its March Board Meeting Minutes. 

There haven't been many signs of the market cooling over the first three months of 2017 either.