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Sydney drives down capital city price growth

The pace of growth in residential property prices across Australia’s capital cities is slowing amid signs sales momentum is waning, according to one industry economist.

While new ABS figures show property prices were 6.8 per cent higher in the March 2016 quarter than the 12 months prior, the Housing Industry Association’s Diwa Hopkins said the pace of growth was slower now than in 2015 “when growth averaged 9.0 per cent per annum”.

Ms Hopkins said the deceleration in price growth was largely driven by developments in Sydney, where annual price growth eased back to single-figure territory during the March quarter.

“Sydney prices grew at an annual rate of 9.7 per cent, beating the national average, but [it’s] also the city’s slowest pace of growth in almost three years,” she said.

Ms Hopkins noted that the downturn in price growth occurred against a backdrop of waning momentum in property transfers, especially for non-detached housing.

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“The volume of attached dwelling transfers across Australia grew strongly in 2013 and 2014,” she said.

“The volume of transfers was virtually unchanged in 2015 and signs of a pull-back in 2016 are now emerging.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne led the capitals for price growth in the 12 months to the March quarter at 9.7 per cent, while Canberra experienced 4.6 per cent growth. Hobart witnessed a 4.2 per cent increase, Brisbane’s prices rose by 4.1 per cent and Adelaide recorded a 3.1 per cent rise.

Darwin and Perth were the only two capitals to see a decline in property prices, down 4.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively.

[Related: Australian house price growth on the decline]

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