A home auction in Melbourne (file)
Data suggests most cash buyers are older home owners who have already paid off their mortgages. Image by Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Home prices break through ceiling but growth eases

Poppy Johnston December 1, 2023

More homes listed for sale and a 13th interest rate hike are likely taking heat out of the housing market recovery.

The pace of growth may have slowed, but the national home value index from real estate data firm CoreLogic still sailed past its previous record high in November.

The national median home value is now $753,654, with growth of seven per cent recorded on an annual basis. 

A separate property price index from PropTrack also found a record high in November. 

Yet both property data outfits recorded slower home price growth over the month.

Sold sign in Canberra
 Interest rate rises and more homes being listed are taking heat out of the growth in prices. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

The 0.6 per cent increase in the CoreLogic index was the smallest monthly gain in the latest streak of growth that kicked off in February.

The picture varied across different cities, with Melbourne recording a 0.1 per cent decline and Sydney a weak 0.3 per cent lift – the smallest increase of the growth cycle.   

Sydney home prices could also follow Melbourne into decline, with the city’s housing market slipping into negative growth in the final week of the month. 

But dwelling values in Perth rocketed up another 1.9 per cent over the month, 1.3 per cent in Brisbane and 1.2 per cent in Adelaide. 

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said the weakening conditions in the two biggest cities was most concentrated in the premium stock, which tend to start shifting before the rest of the market.

“The Melbourne Cup day rate hike has clearly taken some heat out of the market, but other factors like rising advertised stock levels, worsening affordability and persistently low consumer sentiment are also acting as a drag on value growth in some markets,” he said.

At the same time, an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand was keeping upwards pressure on prices in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said price growth could be expected next year but at a slower pace than in 2023. 

“Looking ahead, price growth is expected to continue as the positive tailwinds for housing demand and a slowdown in the completion of new homes counter the sharp deterioration in affordability and slowing economy,” she said. 

CommonSec economists Craig James and Ryan Felsman said the slower pace of growth would be welcomed by the Reserve Bank, which has been mindful that rising house prices makes people feel wealthier and prompt them to spend. 

“If home prices were soaring across the nation, the RBA would be worried that cash rate increases were having a limited impact on the economy,” they wrote  in a note.

The central bank board meets next week for the December interest rate meeting, after hiking the cash rate by another 25 basis points to 4.35 per cent last month.