House prices slump to be offset by rates

·3-min read

Two in five properties around Australia are worth less than they were three months ago - a sign the pandemic property boom has well and truly drawn to a close.

But with interest rates set to be hiked again in August, those wanting to take advantage of lower house prices would be advised to act fast, says Aus Property Professionals founder and buyer's agent Lloyd Edge.

"No one ever got anywhere ... sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens in six months time. People often miss the boat," Mr Edge told AAP.

"If people have their pre-approval at the moment I think they should go ahead and jump in and get something, because ... it's going to be affected again in a couple of months' time."

According to property data analysts CoreLogic, the downturn in the market is gathering momentum on the back of consecutive central bank interest rate hikes, rising inflation and weaker consumer confidence.

Nearly 42 per cent of houses and units across Australia declined in value in the second quarter, compared with about 24 per cent in the first, its data shows.

"This analysis captures two of the three recent rate hikes so it's not surprising to see the added downward pressure has had a broader impact on the housing market," CoreLogic economist Kaytlin Ezzy said

"Signs of a slowdown and falls in value were already evident before the rate rises (began in May), but are now becoming more widespread across Sydney and Melbourne, and beginning to impact the more expensive areas of Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart."

The CoreLogic data suggest property prices have declined by 0.2 per cent nationally, but in Sydney house prices have fallen by three per cent, while unit prices have dropped by 2.1 per cent.

This might have been great news for first-time home buyers looking to take advantage of a lower-priced entry into the market.

Still, with anticipated high inflation data to be released on July 27 likely to prompt the Reserve Bank of Australia to jack up interest rates again at its next meeting in August, the benefits may not be fully realised.

The fall in property values may be a bitter pill to swallow for some who recently bought their first properties - especially given recent statistics gathered by comparison site Finder show that more than a third exceeded their budgets.

A survey of 1001 first home buyers - 372 of whom had already purchased - found eight per cent of buyers paid between $50,000 and $100,000 more than they had planned to, while another eight per cent blew their budget to the tune of more than $100,000.

Irrespective of any downturn in the market, capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne are still very expensive to buy into - often prohibitively so.

CoreLogic found that in three out of four Sydney suburbs median house values remained over $1 million, with no houses listed for under $500,000.

Mr Edge says he has seen an increase in "rentvesting" - where people rent where they want to live and purchase a property in the more affordable regional markets to get on the property ladder.

"Having that home and that great Australian dream is not necessarily for everybody at the moment," he says.

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