The house price boom in Australia has taken a jolt as prices stood still or even dropped in some major cities.
Property prices across the country have seen healthy increases most months since June 2012.
But prices hit a wall in December, with those in Sydney falling by 1.2%, 1.5% in Adelaide and 1.1% in the capital Canberra.
The other state capitals saw house prices go up – by 2.3% in Perth and 1.0% in Melbourne.
Overall, average property prices across all state capitals fell 1.4%, which was the first drop into the black since December 2011.
The decrease in Sydney was for the third month in a row. Prices have fallen by 2.3% in the last quarter of2015.
How price increases convert to dollars
Melbourne reported a similar trend – dropping 1.9% in the last quarter of the year.
The only cities showing an increase in property and real estate values over the final quarter were Brisbane (1.3%) and Adelaide (0.6%).
Although the last quarter figures were disappointing, Tim Lawless of house price analysts CoreLogic explained that the average Sydney home had seen an AUS$82,000 increase during 2015.
Homeowners in Melbourne enjoyed a $60,400 gain, while those in Brisbane are $18,560 better off and those in Canberra have added $21,900 to their property values.
Even though house prices are weakening, Sydney still saw an annual gain in prices of 11.5% and 11.2% in Melbourne. Rises were more modest in other state capitals – around 4% in Brisbane and Canberra.
The average year-on-year rise across all capital cities was 7.8%.
Mortgage finance and affordability
‘The wealth created from housing in Sydney and Melbourne has been exceptional over the past 12 months,” said a CoreLogic spokesman.
The largest losses were in Perth, where the average home costs $19,970 less than 12 months ago.
In Darwin, property values have decreased by $18,150.
In Adelaide prices are $515 lower over the year and down $2,430 in Hobart, Tasmania.
“The changing market results from many factors,” said the spokesman. “Mortgage finance is harder to come by, affordability is tighter and rental yields have dropped, which discourages investors.
“The outlook for the year is probably for the trend to continue while financial factors stay the same.”