01/05/2012 - 11:26

Property market stumbles over March-April

01/05/2012 - 11:26

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Property market stumbles over March-April

Perth’s residential property market is displaying renewed softness, according to figures released today.

RP Data-Rismark’s quarterly look at house prices put the Perth median value at $460,325 for all dwellings, down 0.8 per cent on the previous quarter.

Values were up by 0.3 per cent across capital cities over the quarter.

For houses, RP Data said values dipped by 1 per cent over the quarter in Perth, for a 2.7 per cent year-on-year fall, while the median price of units, villas, townhouses and apartment grew by 2.6 per cent over the quarter.

That wasn’t enough to reverse previous losses, however, as year-on-year multi-dwelling values have dropped by 3.1 per cent, RP Data said.

Preliminary figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a flat March quarter for Perth, with house prices gaining 1.1 per cent.

The ABS said values fell by 1.1 per cent across all eight capital cities.

Year-on-year, Perth home values have shrunk by 1.7 per cent, according to the ABS, while nationally house prices have fallen by 4.5 per cent.

Economists say an expected rate cut today is unlikely to be enough to revive the struggling sector.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut the cash rate from its current level of 4.25 per cent at its May board meeting this afternoon.

However, National Australia Bank chief economist Rob Henderson said the data showed successive interest rate cuts in November and December had done little to support house prices.

"Three months after two interest rate cuts, what has happened to house prices? They have fallen," he said.

"So it doesn't suggest interest rate cuts are much of a panacea for the housing market does it?"

CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the data showed continuing weak sentiment among consumers.

"It's a disappointing result, given the rate cuts we saw in November and December," he said.

"It indicates that even though we've seen a pick-up in activity, it's not flowing through to any exuberance or over-confidence with regard to prices.

"Overall, it's not a great concern economically, but in its potential to further dampen consumer sentiment, it is a red flag.

"As much as anything, it reflects the negative sentiment of the previous quarter, rather than developments over this quarter."

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