Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sydney housing boom ends - (Australia)

The Age

Sydney housing prices declined for the first time in four years during the September quarter, according to new figures.

The median sale price for a house in Sydney fell 3.85 per cent to $500,000 in the three months to September, the report by the Real Estate Institute (REI) of New South Wales said.

The data confirmed that the New South Wales property market had officially slowed after a prolonged run of stellar growth.

"This is the first time since 2001 that median house prices have dropped over a quarter," REI president Rowen Kelly said.

In addition to housing, Sydney's median unit sale price also fell away in the third quarter, losing 3.90 per cent to $370,000.

Consistent with the downward trend in prices, Sydney housing sales booked a 22.72 per cent drop and unit sales fell 35.32 per cent.

In NSW as a whole, the median house price edged up 0.52 per cent over the three-month period, while the median unit price dropped 2.23 per cent.

On a state-wide basis, the volume of house sales backpedalled 27.59 per cent and unit sales shrank 38.38 per cent.

Despite mounting evidence that the housing market has begun its long-awaited downturn, figures for the full year were more encouraging for homeowners.

In Sydney, the median price for housing improved 6.38 year-on-year and the median unit price gained 2.78 per cent on the year.

Mr Kelly said the figures were consistent with an orderly slow-down of the property market cycle and a return to more stable market conditions.

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