Homes cheaper today than a year ago: study
House prices across capital cities rose in the three months to June, but it is still cheaper for most Australians to buy a home today than it was a year ago.
A national survey of home prices, released on Wednesday, shows the median capital city house price lifted 1.4 per cent in the June quarter, though it remains 3.1 per cent below its level a year ago.
Meanwhile, the median price of apartments and other residential dwelling rose 0.4 per cent over the quarter, the Bendigo Bank/Real Estate Institute of Australia Real Estate Market Facts report showed.
But those prices were still 0.4 per cent lower for the year.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank executive Dennis Bice said the report suggested the housing market may be gaining momentum.
"People have been putting the big decisions, such as up-sizing or downsizing their housing preferences on hold for some time now but there is evidence to suggest that activity in the property market is beginning to build again," he said.
Hobart recorded the biggest increase over the quarter, with prices up 4.8 per cent, while Canberra was the worst with a 5.0 per cent slump in prices.
The report also found loans to first home buyers rose by 5.9 per cent in the quarter.
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data on Monday showed home loan approvals fell 1.0 per cent in July, reversing a 1.3 per cent rise in the June quarter.
Meanwhile separate figures show the housing construction industry remains stuck in the doldrums despite a slight improvement in the June quarter.
Australian builders broke ground on 34,116 new dwellings - including houses, apartments and townhouses - in the three months to June, a 4.6 per cent rise on the previous quarter.
However, commencements on new houses dropped for the tenth consecutive quarter to their lowest level since 2001, ABS data released on Wednesday showed.
That was offset only by a 19 per cent jump in the more volatile residential non-houses subsector.
Master Builders Australia chief economist Peter Jones said builders were struggling and further interest rate cuts were needed to reverse the flagging sectors fortunes.
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate by half a percentage point in May, followed by a quarter of a percentage point cut in June to 3.5 per cent.
Mr Jones called on governments to provide more support to the industry or face greater housing affordability problems.
"Urgent reform is required to address supply bottlenecks otherwise a strong industry response to meet underlying demand cannot eventuate," he said.
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