30 November 2023

Prices edge up but it's a buyer's market as apartments and townhouses provide more choice

| Ian Bushnell
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Much of the extra stock on the market are townhouses and apartments, providing more choice to budget-conscious buyers. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Canberra’s residential property prices crept marginally higher in November, but it’s now a buyer’s market, according to CoreLogic.

Its Home Value Index recorded a 0.5 per cent increase overall, with houses rising 0.5 per cent and units and townhouses just 0.3 per cent, reflecting a fairly static market.

But more listings during the month gave buyers the edge with advertised stock levels above the previous five-year average, as was the case in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

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CoreLogic said market conditions were now in favour of buyers as higher stock levels provide more choice, less urgency and greater opportunities to negotiate.

House prices rose 1.4 per cent for the quarter and 1 per cent for the year, but over the 12 months they hardly moved at -0.2 per cent.

Units and townhouses were flat for the quarter at -0.1 per cent, down – 0.7 per cent this year and down -0.5 per cent on the same time last year.

Median values remain around $840,000 overall, $960,000 for houses and $590,000 for units and townhouses.

The Molonglo Valley continues to lead the way in price growth, rising 5.5 per cent over the past 12 months but the only other district to be in the black was North Canberra, and only just at 0.4 per cent.

Tuggeranong was down -0.4 per cent, South Canberra – 2.1 per cent, Weston Creek -2.2 per cent. Belconnen – 2.4 per cent, Gungahlin -3 per cent and the Woden Valley -3.5 per cent.

Not that there haven’t been good results within the various districts, but the overall trend for the 12 months has been flat to marginally down.

The Property Collective’s Will Honey agreed that it was more a buyer’s market now with more stock available, particularly second-hand units and townhouses that were only four to five years old.

“There is a lot of that coming to market, where they are either feeling the pinch with rate roses or trying to cash in on the boom period,” he said.

house price table

The Property Collective’s Will Honey said more stock was available now, particularly second-hand units and townhouses. Image: CoreLogic.

That sector was putting pressure on the new developments where land prices and construction costs set the benchmark and would probably need to wash through the market before things settled down.

Mr Honey said properties were taking longer to sell, with the average out to 60 days, but they were still moving.

Auction numbers and results were unpredictable in what he called a patchy market.

CoreLogic Head of Research Eliza Owen confirmed that the extra stock was coming from the medium and high-density sectors, saying that 1427 units and townhouses were listed for sale during November, 27 per cent higher than the historic five-year average.

The house market was more normalised at just 5 per cent above the historic five-year average.

Ms Owen said that while values had risen in November, they were still far from returning to the peak before the interest rate rises began.

Units and townhouses had held their value better, being only 3 per cent below the peak, while houses were still 7 per cent down.

But over the past five years, Canberra homes have increased in price by almost 40 per cent and 31 per cent since the onset of the pandemic.

Ms Owen said the November rate hike had knocked the market’s confidence and she expected things to be soft for the start of 2024.

The market needed interest rates to start falling for growth to pick up again, and that would likely be in the second half of 2024.

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Nationally, prices rose 0.6 per cent in November to reach a new record high, but CoreLogic is reporting a multispeed market across the country as growth slows.

In Sydney and Melbourne, prices appear to be slipping, but in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane they keep rising due mainly to a lack of stock despite higher interest rates and cost-of-living pressures.

CoreLogic says it is looking increasingly clear the housing market is moving through a new inflection point, with the rate of growth in home values becoming more diverse from region to region and across housing types, but generally weakening.

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