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Housing investors getting nervous

Housing investors have suddenly become a bunch of nervous Nellies.

A survey, completed this month by banking research and consulting firm Digital Financial Analytics, shows only 58 per cent of one-property investors expect higher prices in the coming 12 months, down from 83 per cent in the September survey.

The change of heart has been no less dramatic for portfolio investors owning more than one property, with only 63 per cent now expecting price rises, compared with 89 per cent in September.

"House price expectations are on the turn, with investors, those eternal optimists, now more uncertain about future capital appreciation," DFA's principal Martin North said.

All market segments, including home owners and first home buyers, are less inclined to expect rising prices but it's investors who are "in the headlights".

"Such large changes over just a couple of months are unusual," Mr North said.

The survey's construction may even understate the extent of the turnaround.

It is based on responses gathered over the latest 12 months.

The survey also showed the proportion of investors expecting to undertake housing market transactions - including selling, buying and refinancing - has dropped, most sharply for portfolio investors.

This reluctance to get involved is consistent with figures from CoreLogic RP Data on Thursday.

The balance of supply and demand in the housing market is continuing to shift, with a divergence between the number of homes newly listed for sale and the total still on the market waiting for a buyer.

Despite a fall of four per cent in new listings in the capital cities, the total number still listed has barely budged, dipping only one per cent, CoreLogic RP Data figures show.

Sydney and Perth share most of the blame.

In Sydney, new listings are down four per cent over the past year, but total listings rise by four per cent.

In Perth, new listings are down by 10 per cent, while total listings are up by nine per cent.

And the average time on the market for houses in Sydney has lengthened to 28 days from 26 days this time last year, while in Perth it now takes 81 days to offload a house compared with 64 days a year ago.