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Downturn hits Aussie house prices: ABS

Staff Reporter 3 minute read

The ABS’ House Price Index for the March quarter released yesterday revealed a disappointing decline in Australian house prices.

According to the index, the weighted average capital city house price dropped by 2.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 and 6.7 per cent over the year.

The annual decline was the largest fall recorded by the ABS since it implemented the revised index in 2003, and contrasts to the smaller annual decline reported by RP Data and Rismark last week (-2.19 per cent).

Despite the result, Housing Industry Association (HIA) chief economist Harley Dale said the index displayed only “modest weakness”.

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“Clearly there has been no plummeting of house prices as some doomsayers portended would be occurring by now,” he said.

Indeed compared to overseas counterparts Australia’s market has performed well; in the United States house price falls have exceeded 20 per cent.

House prices fell most over the year in Perth (-10.1 per cent), Sydney (-7.3 per cent) and Melbourne (-6.7 per cent).

Darwin recorded an annual price increase of 10.8 per cent while Hobart was the only other city to record a price rise of just 0.6 per cent.

 

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