Soft Housing Market in First Half of 2008

Three capital cities now have a median house price at or above $450,000, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.  Despite a decrease of 2.1% over the quarter Sydney still has the highest median house price at $542,000, while Hobart has the lowest median house price in Australia at $325,000.

The Australian weighted average other dwelling price decreased by 0.2% over the quarter, but increased 4.0% over the year, to $357,358.  Perth has the highest median price in the country for other dwellings at $374,000 during the June quarter, closely followed by Melbourne, and then Sydney, all with median prices above the weighted average. 

Vacancy rates remain at record lows in most capital cities around Australia, although there was a significant improvement in Perth.  The vacancy rate in Darwin decreased to a staggering 0.3% with no sign that the situation will improve anytime soon in a city that already has the highest rents in the country.  There were also considerable increases in the overall median rent in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, but there were decreases in the median house rent recorded in Hobart and Canberra.

‘The housing market has cooled significantly in the first half of 2008 following a sustained period of higher interest rates and rising living costs’ says REIA President, Noel Dyett.

‘It is hoped that official interest rate cuts announced this month will give renewed confidence to the housing market, as potential home owners take advantage of improved market conditions’ Mr Dyett continued.

National Corporate Affairs Manager with Mortgage Choice, Warren O’Rourke agreed with Mr Dyett and added, ‘These figures reflect the importance for property owners to think of property investment as a long-term strategy. As with any market, there are ups and downs to be ridden out. The key is to understand your goals, research thoroughly and buy a suitable property at the right time.

‘Hopefully the prediction by a number of economists is correct – that we will see another rate reduction before the end of the year and one or even two further cuts in the first half of 2009.’

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of