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House sales in Australia fall to levels worse than during the GFC

01 May 2019

Property sales in Australia have fallen further than the level during the Global Financial Crisis, putting downward pressure on prices across the country, led mainly by Melbourne and Sydney.

Home sales have dropped by 20 per cent over the last year to their lowest level since 1996 and the rate of property turnover has collapsed to less than 3 per cent.

UBS senior economist spoke to The Age and said the figures were bad news for renovations and housing consumption.

"The peak-to-trough decline in prices is more than 8 per cent, worse than the GFC and near the largest for at least 55 years when Real Estate Institute data for Sydney started," he said.

"Looking ahead, we expect price falls to reach 14 per cent, causing a negative wealth effect on consumption."

In Melbourne house prices fell 0.7 per cent last month and have dropped 12.6 per cent over the last year. 

The pain is being felt all around the country really, with Canberra being the only capital city not to record a fall in house prices last month.

Even though house prices are continuing to fall,  CoreLogic’s research director Tim Lawless said he thinks the market could be bottoming out.

"Values are still broadly declining, however the pace of decline has moderated since December last year and there are some tentative signs that credit flows have improved, albeit from a low base," he told The Age.

"Although the rate of decline has moderated, we are still seeing values falling across most regions of Australia and any recovery in dwelling values is likely to be a long-term outlook."

The Reserve Bank will meet next week to discuss the possibility of cutting official interest rates for the first time since the middle of 2016.

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