Tasmanian Housing Market Begins To Cool
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Tasmanian Housing Market Begins To Cool

A sense of unease has made buyers and sellers cautious.

By Terry Christodoulou
Wed, May 18, 2022 11:47amGrey Clock < 1 min

Following a record 12 months for real estate sales for Tasmania, fresh data from the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania shows sales and prices are beginning to slow.

 The REIT’s March Quarterly Report shows the first three months of 2022 have seen Tamsnai’s median house price increase a modest 1.7% to $610,00 with unit prices remaining unchanged at $485,000 and land prices decreasing 5.2% to $241,800.

As a whole the Tasmanian market softened in the first quarter, recording 2846 sales with a value of $1.66 billion with the number of sales down 4.7% on the previous quarter and down 11.2% compared to the same time last year.

 Across the state, activity has varied greatly with the number of house sales across Greater Hobart falling 18% over the quarter, while prices grew 5.8% to $820,000.

According to REIT president Michael Walsh, there have been signs of a cooling market.

 “Price growth had slowed but so has the number of properties coming onto the market,” Mr Walsh said.

“We are told that buyer inquiry levels and open home participation levels have dropped.

“World unrest, the upcoming Federal Election, rising inflation and interest rate increases have buyers and sellers cautious.”

The report also outlines first home buyer activity in the state was down 13% on the previous quarter, while investor activity remained stable, with sales numbers increasing 1.3% over the year to 567 — down 4.7% for the past quarter.

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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.

However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October. 

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