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Australia's most expensive homes are seeing prices fall the fastest

David Scutt
  • Australian home prices have fallen 2.7% over the past 12 months.
  • Prices in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the mining capitals of Perth and Darwin, have seen values fall faster than the national average.
  • Underneath those broader trends, it's clear the top end of the market has seen substantially lager falls, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Australian median home price has fallen 2.7% to $550,610 over the past year, according to CoreLogic's latest Home Value Index, the largest national downturn over a comparable period in seven years.

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However, that doesn't tell the story what's been happening in individual housing markets over this period.

Values have fallen substantially faster in some parts of the country while prices in other areas haven't fallen at all, underlining that there's no such thing as an "Australian" housing market.

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This chart from CoreLogic reinforces that point.

It shows the annual change in home prices by capital city and regional areas in each Australian state.

Clearly, it's been Australia's mining capitals -- Perth and Darwin -- along with Sydney and Melbourne, where values have fallen faster than the national average, masking modest gains in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra, and most regional areas, as well as continued strong growth in Hobart.

However, that too doesn't tell the full story of what's been happening over the past year.

This chart, also from CoreLogic, provides an extra layer of context as to what's been going on.

It shows the annual change in values by capital and regional areas, breaking down the result into price changes by value quartile.

When it comes to Australia's current downturn, it's been the most expensive 25% of the market that has experienced the largest declines over the past year, reversing the trend seen during the prior market upswing when it was the top end of the market that outperformed.

In particular, it's been the most expensive quartile in Sydney and Melbourne where prices have been under pressure, losing 8.4% and 6.7% respectively from 12 months earlier.

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In other markets, and regardless of price range, values have held up substantially better in most instances over the same period.

The price divergence across the country and value range largely reflects the impact of tighter lending standards, especially towards high loan and debt to income borrowers, which has limited how much some homebuyers can borrow, skewing demand for properties towards more affordable price ranges.

Subsequently, that's seen some vendors lower their price expectations, particularly in more expensive markets.