The impact of coronavirus is starting to trickle through to house prices, but it is early days yet with price rises across most capital cities still driving national dwelling prices up 0.7 per cent last month.
The March reading on national house prices was the lowest monthly gain since the market lifted in July last year, property data analysts say. A substantial drop in listings activity is expected over coming weeks as social distancing measures stay in force.
Over the month, housing values rose across every capital city apart from Hobart, which declined 0.2 per cent. Over the March quarter, every capital city recorded a rise in housing values. Sydney had the highest growth over the quarter with values up 3.9 per cent, followed by Melbourne at 2.9 per cent and Canberra at 1.7 per cent.
CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said bans on open homes and on-site auctions would compound the slowdown in buyer activity, as would any future policy announcements restricting services such as building and pest inspections, conveyancing and furniture removals.
But he said the crisis was temporary, and along with hundreds of billions of dollars of government stimulus, leniency from lenders for distressed borrowers and record low interest rates, house prices would eventually rebound again. It would all depend on the duration of the crisis, he said.
“We’ve seen total stimulus measures now getting close to 16 per cent of GDP … so it is an enormous amount of capital flowing into the market.”
“With interest rates as low as they are for at least the next three years, that should help support the market as we see the economy improving — whenever that is.”