ABS: property prices boom in December quarter

By Leith van Onselen

The ABS has today released its property price index – incorporating both detached houses and units – which registered a 4.1% rise in home values nationally over the December quarter and a 7.7% gain over the year, an acceleration from the 3.5% annual growth recorded in the year to September 2016:

ABS Property Prices

Sydney (+5.2%), Melbourne (+5.3%), Brisbane (+2.2%), Perth (+0.3%), Adelaide (+1.8%), Canberra (+2.8%), and Hobart (+4.5%) all recorded value increases over the quarter, whereas Darwin (-1.5%) values fell.

Over the 2016 Calendar Year, Melbourne was the standout (+10.8%), followed by Sydney (+10.3%), Hobart (+8.8%), and Canberra (+5.5%). By contrast, both Darwin (-7.0%) and Perth (-4.1%) values fell.

As you can see, the ABS’ figures have undershot CoreLogic’s, which reported a huge 10.9% jump in dwelling values at the 8-city level over the 2016 calendar year, with Sydney’s values surging by 15.5%.  I will have more to say on this issue tomorrow.

The ABS has also updated its estimated total value of residential properties in Australia, which hit a record $6.44 trillion in the December quarter, up from $6.16 trillion in the September quarter and $5.95 trillion at the same time in 2015. The average price of Australia’s 9,802,700 residential properties is also $656,800, up 6.3% from $617,800 recorded in the December quarter of 2015 (see below table).

ABS value of dwelling stock

This suggests that Australian housing is currently valued at a record 3.81 times the size of the economy, as measured by GDP, and roughly $265,000 per man, women and child.

This differs from Core Logic-RP Data’s figures, which values Australia’s dwelling stock at around $6.7 trillion, or 4.0 times the size of the economy and roughly $276,000 per man, women and child.

Whatever figures you use, Australian housing is ridiculously expensive.

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