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Aussie home value decline starts to slow

By Keith Ford
3 minute read

Australian home values have dropped 1 per cent in January, which is the smallest month-on-month decline since June 2022.

According to CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index (HVI), January saw a slightly smaller drop than December, when home values fell by 1.1 per cent.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said that although the housing downturn remains geographically broad-based, there are signs that the downward momentum is slowing.

“The quarterly trend in housing values is clearly pointing to a reduction in the pace of decline across most regions; however, at -1.0 per cent over the month and -3.2 per cent over the rolling quarter, national housing values are still falling quite rapidly compared to previous downturns,” Mr Lawless said.

No capital city was immune from the decline in January, with Hobart at the top of the chart with a 1.7 per cent decline, followed by Brisbane (down 1.4 per cent), while the smallest drops were recorded in Darwin, which fell 0.1 per cent, and Perth (down 0.3 per cent).

For the first time since March 2021, the median dwelling value in Sydney fell below $1 million. While this was a decline of 1.2 per cent in January, it was an improvement on December’s 1.4 per cent decline.

The top end of town is where the fluctuations are most noticeable, with CoreLogic noting that the country’s most expensive properties have led to both the recent upswing as well as the current downturn.

Across the combined capitals, the rolling quarterly rate of decline in the upper quartile values is at -4.0 per cent over the three months to January, which is an improvement from a recent low of -6.1 per cent over the September 2022 quarter.

“While this trend towards improving conditions across premium markets is not evident in all cities, it is most apparent in Sydney’s detached house market. Quarterly declines in this market segment eased from -7.7 per cent in the three months to August, to -3.9 per cent in the three months to January,” Mr Lawless said.

“The improvement could be reflective of more buyers taking advantage of larger price drops across the premium sector, where house values are down -17.4 per cent since peaking in January 2022.”

Regional housing values have followed a stronger upswing than their capital city counterparts with a milder rate of decline.

Across the combined non-capital city areas of Australia, housing values surged 41.6 per cent higher through the upswing compared with a 25.5 per cent rise in values across the combined capital cities. Since peaking in June, the combined regional index is down 7.4 per cent, while capital city values are now 9.6 per cent below their April peak.

“Despite easing rates of internal migration and a partial erosion of the pre-pandemic affordability advantage, regional housing values are holding up better than capital city markets,” Mr Lawless said.

“This will be an interesting trend to watch over the longer term, but at the moment, it seems regional housing markets have seen a structural shift in the underlying demand profile. With more Australians willing to base themselves outside of the capital cities and remote working remaining a viable option across some sectors of the labour force, it’s unlikely we’ll see a mass exodus from regional markets.”

The HVI also recorded a decline of 8.4 per cent from its peak last year, with price falls over the last nine months reaching a record-breaking high alongside expectations that the trend will continue.