Home prices across Australia’s capital cities fell by 2.4 per cent in the three months to December, trimming the total value of the country’s dwellings to $6.7 trillion.
Prices fell 5.1 per cent across the whole of 2018, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Residential Property Price Index, released on Tuesday.
The December quarter drop was greatest in Sydney – where home prices fell by 3.7 per cent – and Melbourne – which recorded a 2.4 per cent fall – while values increased 0.1 per cent in Adelaide and 0.7 per cent in Hobart.
The total value of Australia’s 10.3 million residential dwellings fell $133 billion over the December quarter, following a decline of $70.1 billion in the September quarter.
The ABS numbers indicated that 42,600 residential properties were added to the total stock across the country during the three months to December, but the mean price of homes fell $15,700 to $651,100 in that period.
Over the year, home prices in Sydney slumped 7.8 per cent while Melbourne recorded a 6.4 per cent fall, Darwin registered a 3.5 per cent drop, and Perth declined by 2.5 per cent.
Brisbane prices were down 0.3 per cent over the year following a 1.1 per cent drop in the December quarter, a shift that BIS Oxford Economics said was “concerning given that prices have been flat” in the city for most of 2018.
“While property prices are falling in most capital cities, a tightening in credit supply and reduced demand from investors and owner occupiers have had a more pronounced effect on the larger property markets of Sydney and Melbourne,” ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.
According to the ABS numbers, Sydney property prices have continued to decline since the September quarter of 2017, while the current statistics recorded the fourth consecutive quarter of falls in Melbourne.
The statistics showed an accelerating drop in overall Australian home values in 2018, with the 2.4 per cent decline in the December quarter following a 1.5 per cent drop in the September quarter and 0.7 drop in the June quarter.
The mean price of residential property was highest in NSW at $831,800, followed by Victoria at $690,900 and then the ACT at $665,600.
The lowest was in Tasmania at $411,700.