Perth loses mantle of nation’s most affordable capital to buy a house in – but units offer a silver lining

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Perth is no longer Australia’s most affordable capital city to purchase a home in, with house prices reaching a new record median of $651,956.

Domain’s June quarterly house price report released on Thursday shows house prices rose 1.4 per cent to a hit the new high. It follows last quarter’s record median of $622,000, which surpassed the last peak of $616,000 in 2014.

The news was less positive for units, with prices dropping for a second quarter by 1.1 per cent to $356,904, the steepest annual fall in three years at 5.9 per cent.

Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell said while Darwin was now the most affordable city to purchase a house in, Perth remained the most affordable city to purchase a unit, a title recouped in 2022 for the first time in 20 years.

“House prices have consistently outperformed units as the growth rates are now heading in opposite directions bucking the national trend,” she said.

Powell said Australia’s capital city housing markets were operating at two speeds, with Sydney and Melbourne the weakest, while house prices in Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart were at record highs.

But she warned that while house prices had been rising annually in Perth for the past two years, growth continued to lose momentum, with quarterly growth roughly half that of the previous quarter.

“Across the combined capitals, house prices fell for the first time in two years, with a median price of $1.065 million,” she said.

“The report reveals that the momentum in Australia’s housing market slowed further over the June quarter and is spreading geographically, with the annual pace of house and unit price growth easing across all combined capitals, apart from units in Adelaide.”

Buyer demand remained elevated with the volume of properties sold over the June quarter 14 per cent above the five-year average.

Powell said more homeowners were reacting to rising prices and putting their home up for sale with the volume of newly advertised homes for sale 29 per cent higher than the five-year average.

PropTrack director of economic research Cameron Kusher said its latest market outlook predicted Perth property prices would grow by between 2 and 5 per cent by the end of the year.

“The capitals expected to see prices hold up the strongest will likely be Perth and Adelaide, but next year Perth’s growth prediction is somewhere between -2 per cent and plus 1 per cent,” he said.

Kusher said Australia’s housing market has changed significantly over the past six months.

“The recent run-up in prices, coupled with reducing borrowing capacities as interest rates rise, is likely to see price falls broaden and then accelerate further into 2023, with the more expensive cities expected to record the largest price falls,” he said.

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