Mercury (Hobart) - Property - - Front Page -

PROP­ER­TYprices across Aus­tralia were on a the slide dur­ing 2012, along with in­ter­est rates – great news if you were buy­ing, but not so great if you were sell­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to prop­erty val­u­a­tion com­pa­nyRPData, house prices in Aus­tralian cap­i­tal cities dropped marginally, by 0.4 per cent, in 2012, fol­low­ing a 3.8 per cent de­cline in 2011, while apart­ments posted a 1.6 per cent in­crease in prices fol­low­ing a 2.6 per cent drop in 2011. Over­all, prices were 5.7 per cent lower at the end of 2012 than their Oc­to­ber 2010 peak.

Prop­erty ex­perts are fore­cast­ing mar­ginal growth in prices in 2013, but de­spite fur­ther in­ter­est rate cuts by the Re­serve Bank of Aus­tralia ex­pected along with fall­ing mort­gage rates, any rise in prop­erty val­ues is un­likely to be dra­matic.

‘‘Look­ing in­to­my­crys­tal ball for 2013 I don’t see that toomuch is go­ing to change,’’ saidRPData se­nior re­search an­a­lyst Cameron Kusher.’’

‘‘ I be­lieve that de­mand for credit will still be quite low de­spite the like­li­hood of fur­ther in­ter­est rate cuts.

‘‘Those mar­kets which have un­der­gone ei­ther longer cor­rec­tions (Bris­bane and Perth) or deeper cor­rec­tions (Dar­win) will see val­ues rise over the year, al­beit not by very much.

‘‘I be­lieve Syd­ney will also con­tinue to see val­ues in­crease at low lev­els such as those recorded this year.

‘‘On the other hand, the re­main­ing cap­i­tals will strug­gle to see any value in­creases over the next year. Over­all, this points to fairly sim­i­lar hous­ing mar­ket con­di­tions per­sist­ing across the cap­i­tal city mar­kets through­out 2013.’’

One of Aus­tralia’s big four banks, NAB, is fore­cast­ing a fur­ther 0.4 per cent in­crease in prices na­tion­ally in 2013, with rises in all states ex­cept Vic­to­ria.

The out­look is bet­ter for 2014, with­NAB­fore­cast­ing a 1.7 per cent in­crease over the next two years.

More op­ti­misti­cally, SQM Re­search, an in­de­pen­dent prop­erty re­search com­pany, is fore­cast­ing a rise be­tween 4 per cent and 7 per cent in cap­i­tal city prop­erty prices in 2013, with Dar­win (14 per cent), Perth (12 per cent) and Syd­ney (9 per cent) lead­ing the charge.

Ac­cord­ing to NAB’s lat­est Res­i­den­tial Prop­erty In­dex, a fear of los­ing their job is the big­gest fac­tor hold­ing back Aus­tralians from pur­chas­ing prop­erty and there­fore keep­ing prices flat, fol­lowed by limited ac­cess to credit.

MrKusher ar­gues that in­ter­est rate cuts are no longer hav­ing the same ef­fect in en­cour­ag­ing po­ten­tial buy­ers to jump on to the prop­erty lad­der. In­stead, Aussies are sav­ing and pay­ing down debt rather than spend­ing.

If you de­cide 2013 is the year to buy, you should start by com­par­ing home loans and shop around us­ing a com­par­i­son site such as

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