Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Q3 House Prices Fall 1.8% Down Under

Source : The Business Times, November 4, 2008

Property prices may remain flat for next few quarters

(SYDNEY) Australian house prices fell in the third quarter, adding to signs that buyers are shunning the property market as the nation's economy slows and unemployment gains.

An index measuring the weighted average of prices for established houses in the nation's eight capital cities dropped 1.8 per cent from the June quarter, when it declined a revised 0.2 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney yesterday.

The median estimate of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for 0.5 per cent decrease.

The second quarter of falling house prices will give central bank Governor Glenn Steven's scope to add to last month's one percentage point reduction in the benchmark lending rate, the biggest cut since a recession in 1992.

Turmoil on financial markets and rising unemployment have prompted home buyers to postponed plans to buy property.

'Property market activity has softened significantly,' Alex Joiner, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd in Melbourne, said ahead of yesterday's report.

'We see prices remaining relatively flat in the next few quarters, before grinding higher.' House prices rose 2.8 per cent in the year through September, after climbing 8.6 per cent in the second quarter, yesterday's report showed. Economists forecast a 4 per cent annual increase.

Mr Stevens and his Reserve Bank of Australia board will reduce the overnight cash rate target by half a point to 5.5 per cent tomorrow, according to 13 of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. -- Bloomberg

No comments: