Property values ​​are growing at the fastest rate in 17 years

Soaring: Home values ​​rose at their fastest nationwide rate in 17 years in February. Erin Jonasson

Sydney and Hobart led the monthly gains with an increase of 2.5%, followed by Melbourne (2.1%), Canberra (1.9%), Perth and Brisbane (1.5%), Adelaide (0.8 %) and Darwin (0.7 percent).

“These are extraordinary numbers,” said Tim Lawless, head of research at CoreLogic.

“It absolutely shows that the market is growing rapidly in value, but it is happening virtually all over the country.”

Loan data showed an increase in demand for home loans, indicating that the rise has yet to go.

“New loans to homeowners excluding first-time home buyers – mostly people who trade – rose 11.3% in January,” said CBA economist Kristina Clifton . “New loans to first-time homebuyers were also up very sharply during the month. “

Investors also returned, with new home loan commitments for investor buyers reaching $ 6.64 billion as they increased month-over-month at the fastest pace since September 2016. This return of investors, whose new loan commitments have increased over the past eight months, coincides with signs of stabilizing rental markets in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs.

Consulting firm SQM Research said last month vacancies had fallen in central Sydney, and on Monday, Mr. Lawless of CoreLogic said rents in the two largest cities were no longer falling.

“We have now seen for a few months that apartment rents in both cities have held up,” Lawless said.

The return of domestic students and hospitality workers was stimulating demand from the city center, but that would not normalize completely until Australia’s borders opened and international students could return as far where they did it before the pandemic, he said.

Rapidly rising prices are quickly wiping out any housing affordability gains made in weaker east coast markets, and Australia’s longstanding problem of raising house prices faster than wages is reasserting itself quickly.

Sydney and Melbourne, where prices fell last year when the pandemic hit, are still making up for lost ground, but they are not far from recent records.

The CoreLogic index of home values ​​in the New South Wales capital is only 1.1% below its peak in mid-2017 and the Melbourne index is 1.7% below its pre-pandemic peak.

“At this rate of growth, it won’t take long to hit new records,” Mr. Lawless said. “These are already very unaffordable markets. “

In Perth and Darwin, which still had a long way to go before returning to previous highs, affordability was less of a concern, he said.

Monday’s figures show the fast-growing segment of the market is now the top quartile – the most expensive 25 percent of properties in prime coastal areas and suburbs. These had been a weak market during the pandemic, but were now leading the pack, Mr Lawless said.

“It’s a real turnaround,” he said. “We are now seeing the premium segment of the market recovering rapidly. “

Melbourne buyers agent Emma Bloom said over the weekend that demand was extremely high for properties on the Mornington Peninsula and in leafy eastern Melbourne suburbs such as Canterbury.

“People have made trucks full of cash during this COVID period,” Ms. Bloom said. “The rich are getting richer and richer. “

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