AUSTRALIAN REAL ESTATE, THE MYTH BUSTER

The popular myth in Australian real estate is that property prices double every seven to ten years. In this week’s Pulse we test this myth, looking at the number of suburbs that have seen median selling prices double over the past decade.

A decade ago, the national median house price was recorded at $330,000 and the median unit price was $310,000.  Ten years later, the median selling prices were recorded at $499,000 and $445,000 respectively.  Based on these figures, selling prices nationally have increased by 51% for houses over the decade and by 44% for units.  Clearly, based on broad averages, in most areas of the country median prices have not doubled over the past decade.

Across the individual capital cities the results diverge significantly, however none of the capital cities have seen the city-wide median house or unit prices double over the past decade.  Prices have gone closest to doubling over the decade in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin while in Perth and Hobart the total change for houses and units has been well below 50%.

Taking a more granular look at the housing market, there were 4,048 individual suburbs that had at least 10 house sales over the 12 months to both June 2006 and June 2016 and 1,665 suburbs that had at least 10 sales over both periods for units.  Of the 4,048 suburbs nationally for houses, only 573 suburbs or 14% have seen the median selling price of a house double over the past decade.  For units, only 159 of the 1,665 suburbs nationally, or 10%, have seen median prices of units double over the past decade.

The first table within the report shows the split of suburbs that have and haven’t seen median selling prices double over the past decade across each state and territory.  For houses; NSW, Vic and NT are the only states and territories in which more than 10% of suburbs have seen prices double over the past 10 years.  Looking at the unit markets, again only NSW, Vic and NT saw more than 10% of suburbs recording prices as doubling.  Not one suburb in Tas has seen the median prices double over the past decade.

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The second table provides an overview of the capital growth performance for capital city suburbs over the past decade.  For houses, Melbourne is the only city in which half of the individual suburbs have seen median selling prices double over the past decade while Sydney has also seen more than 40% of suburbs doubling in price.  Darwin is the only other capital city in which more than 10% of suburbs have seen selling prices of houses at least double over the past 10 years.  Across the unit market, once again Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin are the only capital cities in which selling prices have more than doubled in at least 10% of suburbs.

Comparing tables 1 and 2 highlights how much stronger price growth has been in the capital cities than across regional markets.  It also highlights just how much the strong growth over the decade has been tilted towards Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.  Of course, values are already declining in Darwin while they continue to rise in Sydney and Melbourne.

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Remember that the next time you hear someone say that property prices double every seven to ten years that although it can happen in certain areas there are no guarantees.  The analysis highlights the importance of buying strategically; on average most properties have fallen well short of doubling their value over a decade.  This is highlighted by this data which shows far fewer owners have seen their real estate asset double in price over the past decade than those who have.  Those which have seen their property price double over the decade are most likely to be situated in Sydney, Melbourne or Darwin while in other capital cities and regional areas of the country the prospects of prices having doubled over this period are much lower.

by Cameron Kusher

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