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No capital city immune to housing market cycles

All of Australia’s capital cities have been sensitive to housing market cycles over the past three decades, with price growth dominance shared across the country, according to new research.

According to a 30-year retrospective study by the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA), housing market growth was shared between capital cities, with no capital reporting consistent growth over the past three decades.

For example, the research found that between 1988 and 1992, Brisbane was the strongest-performing capital city with price growth of 99 per cent, while between 1993 and 1997, it was the second weakest-performing capital with value growth of 3.8 per cent.

Similarly, over the five years between 1993 and 1997, Darwin’s housing market experienced the sharpest price growth, with value increases of 56.5 per cent, but it performed weakest in the following five years (1998–2002) with price growth of 5.1 per cent.


PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos claimed that no capital city, including Australia’s largest capitals of Sydney and Melbourne, were immune to market cycles.

“From 2003 to 2007, Sydney and Melbourne were Australia’s worst two performing capitals, despite topping the table the previous five years,” the chairman said.

“Of course, if you backed your judgement and bought in Sydney any time after 2007, you’d be very happy with your decision now.”

A summary of PIPA’s findings are as follows:

  • Darwin had the worst five-year period with a decrease in house prices of 10.5 per cent between 2013 and 2017. PIPA attributed the slump to the mining and resources bust.
  • Perth had the best five-year period with an increase of 139.8 per cent between 2003 and 2007, with PIPA attributing it off the back of the mining boom.
  • Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney have all held stints as the best-performing capital over the 30-year period.
  • Darwin has topped the list twice but has also been at the bottom of the list twice.
  • While Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have all topped the list at some stage, they never ranked as the weakest-performing cities.

Mr Koulizos added: “The facts prove Aussie investors and home buyers over the past three decades have made solid returns across almost every capital city, depending on their ability to buy at the right time.”

[Related: Sydney and Melbourne dominate 10-year price growth list]

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