House prices rising fast
House prices are continuing their upward trajectory. Image – Canva.
  • After a 2.1% rise in February, house prices grew another 2.8% in March
  • House prices are rising faster than at anytime since October 1988
  • Sydney and Melbourne have recovered all their downturns of 2017-19 and 2020

If more dramatic evidence were needed of the ongoing property boom in Australia, the latest CoreLogic data for March 2021 shows that house prices are rising at their fastest pace since October 1988.

The ‘national home value index’ recorded a further 2.8% rise in March, following on from a 2.1% rise in February (which had been the fastest rate in 17 years.)

Every Australian capital city recorded at least 1.4% growth last month, with Sydney surging 3.7% (and 6.7% for the March quarter).

National Home Value Index Results, as at 31 March 2021

March 2021 House Price Index
Source: CoreLogic

“The last time Sydney housing values recorded a quarterly trend this strong was in June/July 2015,” said Tim Lawless, CoreLogic’s research director. “Following this brief surge, the pace of growth rapidly slowed as limits on investor lending kicked in to slow the market.”

Out in the regions, house prices were up 2.8% overall, with NSW gaining the most.

The Sydney and Melbourne markets have now recovered all their losses from previous downturns. Sydney prices are now above their July 2017 peak, which CoreLogic described as “remarkable” considering they fell 14.9% through to 2019, and a further 2.9% during the Covid downturn.

Likewise, Melbourne has staged a full recovery after falling 11.1% between 2017 and 2019, and 5.6% during Covid.

Change in Dwelling Values

March 2021 Change Dwelling Values
Source: CoreLogic

For the first time in a year, city prices are outpacing regional markets. The combined cities index grew 2.8% in March compared to 2.5% in the regions.

Comparing houses and units, CoreLogic March 2021 data has house values 3.0% higher over the month while unit values were up a more modest 1.9%.

Across the combined capitals, the quarterly growth rate for houses (6.5%) is more than double that of units (3.1%).

“Despite the underperformance, unit markets have turned a corner, with Sydney recording two consecutive months of rising values, while the Melbourne unit market has seen values consistently rising since October last year, with the trend accelerating over recent months.”

Tim Lawless, CoreLogic research director

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