Australia's housing market proves resilient in 2020

But serious challenges remain for 2021, expert says

Australia's housing market proves resilient in 2020

Australia’s housing market has proved resilient over the course of the year, with price gains in most states, according to new data from the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

The weighted average capital city median price for both housing and other dwellings has increased over the September quarter, according to REIA’s latest Real Estate Market Facts report. The weighted average capital city median price rose 0.4% for houses and 0.7% for other dwellings over the quarter.

Those increases continue a trend seen throughout the year, according to REIA President Adrian Kelly.

“Over the year to September 2020, the average capital city median house price rose by 3.6% to $773,760, while other dwellings grew by 2.9% to $596,751,” Kelly said.

The median house price increased in the September quarter in all capital cities except for Melbourne, where it fell by 1.7%. However, Kelly said that Melbourne “showed remarkable resilience” over the year, recording an increase of 1.3%.

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“At $1,154,406, Sydney’s median house price continues to be the highest among the capital cities, 49.2% higher than the national average,” Kelly said. “Perth and Darwin have the lowest median house price across Australian capital cities at $480,000, 38% lower than the national average.”

Canberra posted the largest increase over the past year at 10.6%. The Australian Capital Territory, bolstered by the nation’s lowest jobless rate, saw its median price increase by 3.9% in the last quarter, Kelly said.

“Brisbane increased 1.7% over the past quarter and 2.1% in the past year, while Adelaide’s median house price rose 3.1% in the last quarter and 4% over the last 12 months,” he said. “In the west, Perth house prices increased 0.8% in the quarter but recorded a decrease in the last year.”

Tasmania posted record highs for houses in Hobart – the best growth since 2017, and a quarterly increase in house prices of 1.9%, Kelly said.

Rents also increased in all capital cities except Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, where they remained stable. Perth rents spiked 5.9% due to extremely tight demand, REIA said.

“Vacancy rates for rental properties in Sydney have increased substantially over the past year, with Sydney at 4.3% and Melbourne recording 3.7%,” Kelly said. “The challenges of 2021 remain significant, with the continued resumption of mortgage deferrals, the lasting impacts of new foreign policy settings for residential property and the uncertain future of international tourism, international students and immigration.”