Higher borrowing costs and unaffordable prices have pushed the housing slowdown that started in Sydney across the country, with not even Hobart immune to the cooling.
While home values fell more in the NSW capital than any other city over the year to August, with a 5.6 per cent decline – a slump Sydney last experienced in March 2009 – the contagion spread, with Melbourne's decline accelerating and values in the previously white-hot Hobart market slipping 0.1 per cent from July, CoreLogic figures showed on Monday.
Perth's quarterly pace of decline worsened to 1.9 per cent from 1.5 per cent. Brisbane values slipped 0.2 per cent after ticking up 0.1 per cent a month earlier.
"The story is that things are slowing everywhere," CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said.
"Even markets like Brisbane and Adelaide ... while the tightened credit controls and lack of affordable housing largely hits Sydney and Melbourne, overall that's having an impact across the board."
Advertisement Slow start The credit-triggered slowdown meant a slow start to the spring selling season, with the preliminary auction clearance rate hovering below 60 per cent in the week to Saturday. While there are some signs that first home buyer activity is weakening, a year after state governments in NSW and Victoria brought in stamp duty concessions for entry-level buyers, the declines that pushed dwelling values nationally down 2 per cent in the year to August and were concentrated in higher-priced segments of the market were likely to continue, Mr Kusher said.
"Values are going to continue to fall this year and well into next year," he said.
Nine of the 10 worst-performing sub-capital regions over the 12 months to August were in Sydney, with suburban Ryde the hardest hit. Values in the northern suburb have fallen 9.4 per cent over the past year, with houses down 11.8 per cent and units down 2.4 per cent.
Houses in Sydney's city and inner-southern suburbs declined the most, however, at 13 per cent. Values of apartments in the Baulkham Hills/Hawkesbury district have slumped the most at 16.2 per cent.
"The lower end of market has been holding up higher than the higher-valued segment," Mr Kusher told The Australian Financial Review.
Downturn "That's what you typically see in a downturn. In most downturns it's the most expensive stock where you see the largest falls."
The turnaround in Melbourne, where prices had kept growing even as Sydney turned down, showed that factors such as tighter credit were now more than offsetting the city's buoyant population growth,
"Housing's become very unaffordable," Mr Kusher said.
But the picture is more mixed. While East Melbourne fell in the 10-worst ranking with a 6.1 per cent fall in values over the year to August, the city's western suburbs were among the best-performing over the year to August, with a 3.1 per cent gain, as were the north-western suburbs with a 3.1 per cent increase.
But as a city, Melbourne's decline accelerated to 1.7 per cent from 0.5 per cent, marking its fastest drop since October 2012. Values fell 2 per cent in the three months to August, more than in any other city.
Housing market exhaustion also hit Hobart. Values in the Tasmanian capital shed 0.1 per cent in August after flat lining in July, although they remain up 10.7 per cent year-on-year.