The housing boom continues to lose steam as house prices rise 1.5% in August

Despite the disruption from lockdowns, Australian housing prices continued to climb, although the monthly growth rate slowed significantly in August. 

CoreLogic data said the nation's median property price lifted by 1.5 percent last month. The property specialist said the growth rate was still well above average, but the lowest monthly rise since January. 

However, all capital cities, except Darwin, saw solid price rises in August with Hobart and Canberra being the strongest.  

CoreLogic's home value index confirmed that the rate of price growth is moderating after moving through a peak in March of this year. In March, prices rose at the breakneck pace of 2.8 percent, led by Sydney where prices rose 3.7 percent.  

Australian property prices have jumped 15.8 percent since the year began and 18.4 percent higher than a year ago. 

In dollar terms, Australia's median property price has risen by around $103,400 in the past year. In comparison, Australian wages are rising at a much slower rate of 1.7 percent. 

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless argues that the slowdown likely reflects worsening affordability, which is more likely to be weighing on buyers than ongoing lockdowns. 

"Housing prices have risen almost 11 times faster than wages growth over the past year, creating a more significant barrier to entry for those who don't yet own a home," he said. 

”Lockdowns are having a clear impact on consumer sentiment, however, to date the restrictions have resulted in falling advertised listings and, to a lesser extent, fewer home sales, with less impact on price growth momentum. 

"It's likely the ongoing shortage of properties available for purchase is central to the upwards pressure on housing values." 

Price gap closing 

The price gap between houses and units appears to be narrowing, according to the property specialist.  Throughout the first quarter of the year, capital city house prices rose about 1.1 percentage points faster than units each month.  

 By August, the gap came down to 0.7 percentage points.  

Lawless views the convergence of growth in house and unit prices as another sign that affordability has worsened. 

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