You Might Finally Be Able To Buy A House In 2019 As Prices Plummet

Aussie house prices declined dramatically through 2018, and as nervous buyers continue to wait it out, the downturn is likely to continue.

Nationally, property prices fell 4.8 percent over 2018, the latest report from property analyst CoreLogic shows.

It's the sharpest decline since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, with half of the country's capital cities citing a decrease.

Sydney prices have slumped nearly nine percent, while Melbourne is down seven percent.

As annual report cards go, CoreLogic's head of research Tim Lawless said the numbers are unsurprising and housing market conditions are likely to continue to weaken in 2019.

“Access to finance is likely to remain the most significant barrier to an improvement in housing market conditions in 2019,” Lawless said.

"Lenders are understandably risk averse against a backdrop of falling dwelling values, high household debt, rising supply and heightened regulatory focus following the banking royal commission."

As well as tighter lending standards, Lawless also attributed the continuing downturn to low levels of consumer confidence, as buyers hold off for fear of seeing little future return.

Percentage change in dwelling values as of December 31, 2018. Image: CoreLogic
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Sydney and Melbourne contributed most heavily to the national decline in dwelling values, falling 8.9  and seven percent respectively.

Meanwhile, Perth is down 4.7 percent and Darwin 1.5.

As for price increases, Hobart came out on top, up 8.7 percent, with Canberra (+3.3), Adelaide (+1.3) and Brisbane (+0.2) percent trailing behind.

But negative result or not, every capital city still recorded either a weaker pace of growth or an accelerated decline over the year.

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"Although Australia's two largest cities are the primary drivers for the weaker national reading, most regions around the country have reacted to tighter credit conditions by recording weaker housing market results relative to 2017," he said.

"Such a soft result amongst the best performing areas highlights that housing market weakness is broad-based and not just confined to Sydney and Melbourne."

Regional Tasmania managed to make it through the year as an exception, recording a nation-leading rise of nearly 10 percent.

Image: CoreLogic

Areas across regional Australia largely returned a stronger growth performance compared to their capital counterparts, most likely due to better housing affordability, more sustainable long term growth trends and improving economic and demographic conditions, the report said.

The strongest of these regional performers were in Tasmania and Victoria.

Eight out of the 10 worst-performing sub-regions were in Sydney alone, ranging from an 8.8 percent decrease in the city's inner-western suburbs to a 13.3 percent drop across Ryde.

(Getty Images)

With all of 2019 ahead of us, Lawless said he expects housing market conditions to continue heading south.

"With a federal election likely to be held sometime in May, we may see a further negative impact on confidence, especially amongst investors who will be impacted by changes to taxation policy should there be a change of government," he said.

"On a positive note, interest rates are set to remain close to historic lows and migration is likely to remain high (albeit lower than last year) which will help keep a floor under housing demand."