Prices have risen over the past twelve months, with real estate experts predicting the market should get even better in 2013.
It's a well-known fact that what goes up must come down, so it's now wonder that after the historic price highs of 2010, Australia's property market took a big hit in 2012.
The latest figures from property analyst firm RP Data shows on average house prices across our capital cities fell point four per cent last year.More stories from Today Tonight
Melbourne fared the worst, with prices down 2.9 per cent.
Brisbane and Adelaide were both down 0.8 per cent, and Hobart was down 0.1 per cent.
Sydney bucked the trend though, growing 1.5 per cent, while Perth prices climbed 0.8 per cent.
RP Data senior research analyst Cameron Kusher has crunched the numbers, and says the days of watching the price of your home increase year in, year out, are over.
"We've never seen these situations before, and you'd really have to go back to the early 1990s to see similar housing market conditions to what we've seen over the last few years, when we had our last recession," Kusher said.
"I don't think property values are going to grow as quickly over the next ten to fifteen years as they have over the past ten to fifteen years."
Consumer confidence is love, and we're worried about our jobs and the economy. So not even interest rate cuts are enough to spur the market.
According to economist Steve King that's because as a nation we're mortgaged to the hilt.
"We've reached the ceiling and households are now bouncing along at a level of debt that is five times the amount of debt they were carrying back in 1990," King said.
Sydney remains Australia's most expensive city to buy property. The average price of a three to four bedroom home is $656,000 - up from $648,000 in 2010.
But to find a family home at these prices you'll have to go at least twenty kilometres out of the city, to suburbs like Lidcombe, Caringbah and Mount Colah.
In Melbourne, the average home costs $528,000 - down almost $30,000 on 2010 median prices.
But once again, those prices are found in suburbs at least twenty kilometres out of the city - in areas like Clayton, Rowville and Mulgrave.
Brisbane's median house price is $430,000, which has also dropped $30,000 since 2010. However in Brisbane you'll only have to go ten kilometres out of the city, to suburbs like Everton Park, Sunnybank Hills and Caringbah.
Adelaide's median house price is almost on par with Brisbane's, at $429,000. It's dropped about twenty grand since 2010 when median prices were $451,000.
To find those prices you'll need to go about eight kilometres out of the city, to Highbury, Rostrevor and South Plympton.
With the average home in Hobart costing just $325,000, it is our most affordable capital city. Those prices are down $12,000 since 2010 when average prices were $338,536.
You can find a home for that price around seven kilometres from the city, in suburbs like Bellerive, Lindisfarne and Kingston.
Finally in Perth, the average medium house price is $553,000 - the same as it was in 2010. For that you can live eight kilometres from the city, in suburbs like Joondanna and Yokine.
Home ownership might be the great Australian dream, but when you do the sums there are fewer than 500 suburbs across the country where it's cheaper to buy than rent. Experts say what people should learn from the downturn is owning property doesn't guarantee returns.
Keen's advice is to "hold off." He says "The longer you wait, the more of a deposit you are going to be able to put together, and the more prices will come down in the falling market. The best thing you can do is wait."
Kusher agrees that "people have got time to sit on their hands and potentially get those properties cheaper in six to twelve months' time if they waited it out."
However that does not appear to be the case in Sydney, where high rents and high competition for rental properties continue to drive demand from buyers.
McGrath Estate Agents CEO John McGrath says "Sydney is somewhat the New York of Australia. It seems to be the strongest market, and in times of recover (as we're in right now) it tends to out-perform the rest of Australia."
According to McGrath we're at the tail end of the toughest economic period we've seen for 100 years. He believes 2013 will be a stronger market with mild price growth across the country.
"Real estate should always be seen as a long-term investment, at least with a three to five year window, and right now we're moving into a strong three to five year growth period. So from that perspective I think investing in real estate is really good timing," McGrath said.Contact details
- RP Data - www.rpdata.com
- Australian Property Monitors - www.apm.com.au
- McGrath - www.mcgrath.com.au
- Steve Keen's Debtwatch - www.debtdeflation.com
This reporter is on Twitter at @PippaGardner7