Melbourne has overtaken Sydney as the nation’s worst-performing housing market, and suffered its first annual price drop in almost six years.
Property prices in Australia’s second-largest city fell last month (-0.9pc) and over the past quarter (-1.8pc) — versus Sydney’s slightly smaller drop in July (-0.6pc) and over the past three months (-1.1pc).
However, on a yearly basis, the result is different. Darwin remains the weakest annual performer, down 6.2 per cent.
This compares with Sydney (-5.4pc), Perth (-2.3pc) and Melbourne (-0.5pc) over the past year.
These are some of the results from property analysts CoreLogic that point to an accelerating housing downturn across the country.
Fastest national drop since 2012
On a national level, Australia’s dwelling values fell at their fastest rate since 2012 — down in the last month (-0.6pc), quarter (-0.9pc) and year (-1.6pc).
This was driven by “long-running declines in Perth and Darwin”, Sydney and Melbourne’s quickening decline due to tighter lending conditions, and slowing growth in regional areas.
Despite falling prices in the Harbour City, Sydney and Hobart remain polar opposites on the affordability spectrum.
Sydney’s median dwelling price was $863,769 (a figure which includes houses and apartments), while Hobart’s was $435,833.
In addition, Sydney’s median house price fell back below $1 million — down to $998,270.
Hobart remained the best-performing market by far, with its prices surging 11.5 per cent in the past 12 months.
It was followed, not very closely, by Canberra (+2.4pc), Brisbane (+1.2pc) and Adelaide (+0.7pc).
But even the Tasmanian capital’s booming property market slowed to a crawl last month — remaining flat in July.
“We can’t see any factors that may halt or reverse the housing market’s trajectory of subtle declines over the second half of 2018,” said CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless.
“The slowdown in credit growth is attributable almost entirely to less investment lending, where growth is tracking at a record low of 1.6 per cent annually.”