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House prices continue their climb


houses and coins1The median house price across Australia’s capitals hit a new high in the final quarter of 2016, figures have revealed.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show median property prices rose 4.1%, with growth in Melbourne outpacing Sydney. Melbourne median prices rose 10.8% for the year to the December quarter, with Sydney close behind at a 10.3% rise. Tasmania also saw strong growth at 8.8%, while prices were up 5.5% in the ACT and 3.8% in Queensland. Prices fell in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, down 4.1% and 7%, respectively.

The figures also revealed Australia’s median house price has surpassed $650,000 for the first time, the Australian reported.

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HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the figures further reinforced the divergence between Australia’s capital cities.

“Sydney and Melbourne represent 40% of Australia’s population, and some concern regarding the trajectory of house price growth in these two markets is warranted. Elsewhere, people still scratch their heads when it comes to a supposed housing price boom, because that simply hasn’t been their experience this cycle, even allowing for some recovery in prices in recent times,” Dale said.

Dale also argued against regulatory action to clamp down on house price growth.

“Yes, there is some need to tighten lending conditions for some Australian housing markets in terms of geographical areas and dwelling types. However, a blanket tightening of lending conditions, as now seems to be emerging again, is the wrong policy and risks damaging Australia’s financial stability. That is the very opposite of the ideal outcome authorities want to achieve,” he said.

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