Housing slump hits ‘uncharted territory’ in Sydney

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Sydney’s housing downturn has changed the history books. Picture: Craig Greenhill

Sydney’s current housing downturn has pulled the city property market into “uncharted territory”, becoming longer and deeper than any other slump over the past 30 years.

New research from property group CoreLogic revealed median property values across the Harbour City have fallen 14.9 per cent since peaking in July 2017, which eclipsed falls recorded over other periods of market weakness.

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This included the 8 per cent drop in prices recorded around the time of the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Recent price drops are larger than during the early 90s recession Paul Keating described in 1990 as one Australia “had to have”.

Recent price falls were also higher than those recorded in 1989 when interest rates were pushed to nearly 17 per cent and the economy was beginning to veer into a recession.

Total peak-to-trough falls in prices during the 1989 slump were about 10 per cent, according to the CoreLogic analysis.

Sydney’s current real estate downturn, which began after a long period of price rises, has also become the biggest in the state, eclipsing the 12 per cent drop in regional NSW values recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

A similar trend was occurring in Melbourne. Melbourne dwelling values were currently down 11.1 per cent from their previous peak — the deepest correction of any time since 1980.

Sydney property prices now average about $850,000.

CoreLogic analyst Cameron Kusher said prior downturns in Australia’s big cities were generally shorter and not particularly deep.

“When downturns have occurred they are often small and values return to previous peaks fairly quickly,” Mr Kusher said.

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“The current downturn for a number of regions is unprecedented in terms of the magnitude and length of declines.

“Given this it could be a number of years after values begin to recover until they return to their previous highs.”

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