4 August 2020

Canberra's rising house values defy national trend

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra house

House values continue to edge upwards in Canberra. Photo: File.

Canberra real estate continues to be a safe bet as home values defy downward trends in other capital cities and continue to edge higher.

The latest CoreLogic data shows Australian housing values racked up a third consecutive month of declines in July, with its home value index dropping 0.6 per cent over the month.

But in Canberra home values rose 0.6 per cent, with units steady at 0.1 per cent and houses up 0.7 per cent. Adelaide posted a marginal 0.1 per cent increase.

Melbourne (-1.2%) and Sydney (-0.9%) led the decline, recording the largest month-on-month falls in July, although over the last 12 months values remain well up.

In a volatile 2020, beset by bushfire and COVID-19, Canberra houses have posted a 3.6 per cent rise so far, and for the past 12 months they are up 8.5 per cent.

Units are up 0.8 per cent in 2020, and 2.7 per cent over the past 12 months.

Canberra home values are firmly set as the third-highest after Sydney and Melbourne.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless says the housing markets generally have been resilient during the COVID-19 crisis, thanks to economic support packages but warns that will be tested when they fall away.

“Urgent sales are likely to become more common as we approach these milestones, which will test the market’s resilience,” he says.

“Similarly, the recent concerns of a second wave of the virus and the potential for renewed border closures and stricter social distancing policies are likely to further push consumer sentiment down. This is likely to weigh on both home buying and selling activity more broadly.”

But Canberra’s strong public sector base and minimal, if any, coronavirus presence has meant it is better off than other cities.

CoreLogic Home Value Index tables

CoreLogic Home Value Index tables. Image: CoreLogic.

The last two weekends’ auctions have experienced relatively high listings and clearance rates.

On 25 July, 39 properties were listed, with 32 reported and 24 sold for a clearance rate of 73 per cent and median price of $878,500.

Last weekend, 41 properties were listed, 37 reported and 31 sold for a clearance rate of 82 per cent and median price of $843,500.

Strong interest has also been reported in Canberra for the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme which is offering $25,000 to eligible applicants interested in purchasing house and land packages or off the plan units.

CoreLogic says real estate agent activity across Australia has recovered to the same levels as a year ago.

The number of newly advertised properties is up 46 per cent from the recent lows of early May, and new capital city listings tracking 8.9 per cent above levels recorded this time last year.

But the total listing count remains 15.2 per cent below last year’s level nationally and 12.5 per cent lower across the combined capitals.

Sydney and Melbourne have led the falls in values, mainly in the higher end of the market.

Mr Lawless says the pandemic remains a constant threat to the market.

”Further virus outbreaks present a clear and present danger to the depth and length of the recession, and the performance of the housing market,” he says.

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