Housing prices cool. You wouldn’t say that Australia’s housing price bubble has burst as it has in the United States and in Britain, but throughout most of the country there are clear signs that prices are easing. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out this morning show that in the December quarter, the average established house price in the eight state and territory capitals was 3.3% lower than in the same quarter of 2007. Only in Darwin and Adelaide did the average price actually increase during the year — up by 3.8% and 2.0% respectively.

Compared with the September quarter of 2008, house prices house prices fell in the December quarter by 0.8% Australia wide with falls in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart and rises in Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra.

The longer-term trend in housing prices is shown in these index figures from the ABS with the average house price of 100 back in the June and September quarters of 2004 now still substantially higher in December 2008 at 125.8.

Peter Fray

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