National House price growth slows as Sydney goes into reverse

Australia's property market is showing signs of cooling, with prices up just 0.2 per cent in the December quarter, while the booming Sydney market fell.

The modest increase in the Australian Bureau of Statistics' residential property price index slowed the overall annual increase to a still robust 8.7 per cent, but down from the 10.7 per cent recorded in the September quarter.

Sydney was one of the worst performing markets, falling 1.6 per cent for the quarter, only marginally smaller than the 1.8 per cent drop in Darwin.

However, JP Morgan's Tom Kennedy said the Sydney result needed to be viewed in the context of a booming few quarters previously, and the market still looks "frothy" with annual growth rate of 13.9 per cent over the year.

"The monthly house price data indicates Sydney dwelling price growth has continued to cool in the first quarter, a theme we expect to persist this year," Mr Kennedy said.

Canberra was the strongest performing capital - up 2.8 per cent - while Hobart recorded a 2.5 per cent increase over the quarter.

Melbourne and Brisbane both posted solid 1.6 per cent gains to be up 9.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively over the year.

Perth reversed its recent trend of falling prices, rising 0.5 per cent over the quarter, but is still down 2.9 per cent for the year.

Adelaide prices edged up 0.5 per cent to an annualised increase of 3.3 per cent.

The weighted average residential property index across the eight capitals was rising at an annual rate of 4.7 per cent in the June quarter, slipping to 2 per cent in September and 0.2 per cent in December.

Mr Kennedy said the figures were consistent with the idea that some of the heat came out of the property market late last year, with the fourth quarter growth rate the slowest since 2012.

The data is backed up by recent February figures from the CoreLogic RP Data series which confirmed a widespread cooling of property prices, with Melbourne overtaking Sydney as the nation's fastest growing market.

Source: ABC News

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