Post-pandemic, how healthy is Australia’s property market?

When COVID-19 first invaded Australian shores nearly three years ago many uncertainties raged across all facets of life, including within the property industry, with some positing national home values could’ve potentially plummeted 30 per cent.

While the health crisis had no direct impacts on the housing market, CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, explained: “Unprecedented expansionary fiscal and monetary policy (and subsequent tightening), heavy border closures (and reopening), and the normalisation of remote work amid lockdowns were pandemic by-products that influenced housing markets.”

Perhaps the major occurrence in the three years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic for COVID-19 has been Australian property’s surging values, which are up 14.8 per cent on average when compared to March 2020.

From September 2020 to April 2022, the nation experienced the sharpest recorded upswing in home values (28.6 per cent) with “an enormous, three-pronged monetary policy expansion, and stimulus payments of around $120 billion” helping to turn the market around.

However, these soaring price increases have been dragged back down since May 2022, when the Reserve Bank (RBA) enacted the first of 10 consecutive cash rate increases, inciting national home values to fall 9.1 per cent in the 12 months to February, the largest downswing on record.

More recently, Ms Owen described “yet another surprising turn in housing market performance” as she revealed home values declined 0.1 per cent in February, the smallest monthly rate of decline since the RBA’s first rate hike last year.

House price growth, and subsequently declines, vary from region to region, with Ms Owen noting how different markets achieved results in the three years since the onset of the pandemic.

For example, regional South Australia’s home value index (HVI) jumped 47.6 per cent between March 2020 and the end of February 2023 as opposed to Melbourne, where prices have stabilised at

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