Hobart has long been Australia’s cheapest capital city to buy a home, but soaring prices have bumped it up the list for the first time in more than a decade.
Adelaide is now the nation’s most affordable capital city, with a median house price of $470,000, according to new figures from the Real Estate Institute of Australia. Hobart’s is $492,000.
The Adelaide figure is 39 per cent below the national weighted average median capital city house price, which is $770,086 after falling 0.1 per cent in the March 2018 quarter, the REIA says.
Despite taking bottom rung on the housing price ladder, Adelaide’s median house price rose 1.1 per cent in the March quarter. Rent in the South Australian capital was also more expensive, with three-bedroom houses costing $355 a week, up 1.4 per cent on the previous year.
Meanwhile, Hobart’s new median is an increase of 7.2 per cent for the quarter, and a staggering 20 per cent for the previous year.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Hobart rose to $400 a week in the March quarter, up 8.1 per cent on the previous year.
In May, the latest Rental Affordability Index showed Hobart had overtaken Sydney to become the least affordable capital city for renters, thanks to a combination of skyrocketing property prices and an undersupply of affordable housing.
A ‘tighter rental market’
The REIA figures showed median house prices also increased in Melbourne in the three months to March. They fell in Darwin, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.
“Over the quarter, median rents for three-bedroom houses increased in all capital cities except Darwin,” REIA president Malcolm Gunning said.
“Median rents for two-bedroom and other dwellings performed better, with all cities increasing their medians.”
He said the weighted average vacancy rate for the eight capital cities fell to 2.6 per cent in the March quarter, indicating a tighter rental market.
“Canberra has the tightest market, with a vacancy rate of 0.5 per cent,” he said. “[That is] the lowest rate for a capital city since March 2008 and for Canberra since the early 1980s.”
Sydney’s median house price fell to $1,150,357 in March, down 2.6 per cent for the quarter and 1.4 per cent on the previous year, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Sydney was $520 a week, up 4 per cent in a year.
Melbourne’s median house price increased to $855,000, up 4.4 per cent in the quarter and 7.4 per cent in 12 months, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Melbourne was $400 a week, up 1.3 per cent in the quarter and 2.6 per cent since the same time in 2017.
Canberra’s median house price was $641,000, a drop of 3.6 per cent in the quarter but still a rise of 1.7 per cent for the year, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Canberra rose to $495 a week, up 2.1 per cent for the quarter and 5.9 per cent on the previous year.
Brisbane’s median house price dropped to $515,000 in the March quarter, down 2.8 per cent for the period, but up 2 per cent on the same time last year, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Brisbane was $390 a week, up 2.6 per cent in the quarter and stable for the year.
Darwin’s median house price was $505,000 in March, a quarterly fall of 1.6 per cent. It was down 4.7 per cent on the previous year, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Darwin fell to $477 a week, down 2.2 per cent on the three months to March and 3.4 per cent on March 2017.
The median house price in Perth fell 1.9 per cent to $510,000 in the quarter, down 1 per cent on the previous year, the REIA said.
The median rent for three-bedroom houses in Perth was steady at $330 a week, down 5.7 per cent since March 2017.