2015: A year in review

Now that Christmas and the New Year’s rush of speculation and last-minute trades are over, we can finally look back on 2015 and consider what kind of year it was for the Australian property market.

According to CoreLogic RP Data, the total value of residential property reached $6.3 trillion in 2015, rising from $5.7 trillion in 2014. This is a huge increase that has put residential property at the top of the list of the nation’s largest asset class.

There was huge diversity in the growth market, however, and while reported record growth for the capital cities was certainly a boon for the nation as a whole with an 8.7 per cent increase, it becomes a different story when considering individual cities. Sydney and Melbourne, of course, saw huge increases: double digits for the both of them. Perth and Darwin, on the other end of the spectrum, saw losses of 4.1 and 4.2 per cent respectively.

The moderate middle-grounders of Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane stayed between 3 and 5 per cent growth, perhaps reflecting a slightly more stable housing market with lower home loans due to improved housing affordability.

First home buyers remained at low levels, though an increase of activity in the construction industry could see an boost in supply and help stimulate those new buyers into action. The previous year saw over 115,000 houses and over 117,000 units approved for construction, which may mean 2016 could be a year with new properties springing up all over.

Looking ahead to later this year, the big question remains whether lending interest rates will remain at their current level. These low rates have kept the number of loans high and the mortgage repayments small, driving the property industry forward with lots of demand for investment properties. Time will tell if these historic lows continue.