Over the first seven months of 2011, Australian capital city home values were down -3.4 per cent. According to RP Data research director Tim Lawless, this national result conceals wide divergences across the individual cities.
Over the 12 months to July 2011, Australian capital city home values are off -2.9 per cent. Mr Lawless said that it looks like a multi-speed housing market: Brisbane (-6.6 per cent), Perth (-6.3 per cent), and Melbourne (-4.3 per cent) have all experienced significant declines over the last year, whereas the 35 per cent of Australia's capital city population that lives in Canberra (+1.9 per cent) and Sydney (+0.5 per cent) had realised capital gains.
"If rates do remain on hold, or begin to fall, we would expect to see Australia's housing market find a base and begin to generate capital gains again. If the RBA has really come to the end of its tightening cycle - which we would find surprising given the high core inflation revealed over the last six months - 2011-12 will likely be judged one of the best buying windows seen in quite some time. The turning point will arrive when otherwise hawkish Australian consumers accept the notion that rates are not going to inexorably increase," Mr Joye said.
Mr Lawless said that the current weakness in housing market conditions is related to the ongoing anxiety consumers have about their future finances as reflected in the latest consumer confidence data.
Despite some improvements in selling times in previous months, the average number of days it takes to sell a home has increased in June and July. Other key leading indicators also imply that market conditions remain soft.