Property prices rise 0.6 per cent in March as Perth heats up

The property market upswing has posted its 14th straight monthly gain, setting new records.

The property market upswing has posted its 14th straight monthly gain, setting new records. Photo: Getty

Australian property prices rose 0.6 per cent in March, capping off a solid first quarter of 2024 in which median home values lifted about $12,000.

Every capital city except Darwin saw median dwelling values rise over the past month, CoreLogic figures published on Tuesday showed.

Perth led the way at 1.9 per cent, followed by Adelaide (1.4 per cent) and Brisbane (1.1 per cent).

Australia’s largest capital Sydney experienced more moderate growth of 0.3 per cent against higher dollar valuations.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said that housing remains in short supply, while purchasing demand is still high as interstate and overseas migration rates continue at “well above-average” levels.

“The diversity in housing value outcomes can be explained by significant differences in factors like housing affordability, demand-side pressures from population growth and shortcomings in housing supply,” he said.

“Focusing on the extreme growth conditions in Perth, despite such a rapid pace of capital gains, housing values remain relatively affordable compared with the larger capital cities.”

House prices beat expectations

Median values rose 1.6 per cent over the quarter nationally, up from 1.4 per cent over the final three months of 2024 as the property market continues to shrug off the effects of higher interest rates on borrowers.

CoreLogic’s national home value index has now increased 10.2 per cent, or $71,832, since falling 7.5 per cent between April 2022 and January 2023.

CoreLogic said that markets are continuing to “traverse the high interest rate and high cost-of-living environment better than most would have expected” amid ongoing levels of high housing demand.

Though the pace of the rebound since April 2022 has moderated, with Lawless saying the market has not been immune from broader economic conditions.

“Rate hikes, cost-of-living pressures and worsening housing affordability are all factors that have contributed to softer housing conditions since mid-last year,” Lawless said.

“However, an undersupply of housing relative to demand continues to keep upwards pressure on home values despite these headwinds.”

Perth property prices surge

Property prices have risen an astonishing 5.6 per cent over the March quarter in Perth, taking median values to $703,502 in the past month.

It’s being caused by elevated levels of migration, CoreLogic said, with net overseas migration of 18,122 in the September quarter of 2023, which is several times higher than the decade average of 4639.

“The extreme flip in demographic trends has delivered a significant positive demand shock across WA housing,” CoreLogic said.

Cheaper properties lead upswing

Another interesting part of the upswing in early 2024 is that properties on the lower end of the value scale are driving faster growth than more expensive homes.

Lower-quartile home values are now up 3.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to 0.7 per cent for the most expensive dwellings.

That’s a flip from last year, where more expensive properties in the upper quartile of the value distribution drove growth.

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