House prices fall in three states

House values in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne went backwards in the first four months of 2008, new research by property analysts RP Data shows.

The once booming property markets of Perth and Sydney experienced the biggest declines in average house values with negative capital growth of 3% and 1.4% respectively. Melbourne average property values fell by 0.1% to 0.2%.

But the data reveals a nation divided when it comes to housing values, with average capital growth in Adelaide of close to 5% and Brisbane and Canberra of over 3%.

Across the nation, however, that means a reversal in average house values from 8.2% growth in 2007 to a slight decline in 2008.

And one of the root causes of falling house values – soaring interest rates – has also produced a sharp rise in the number of Australian households suffering mortgage stress.

According to RP Data, over 600,000 households were estimated to be under mortgage stress as at March 2008, a figure which is estimated will rise to 900,000 by September this year.

The number of severely mortgage stressed households – those on the brink of losing their homes – is also set to increase from around 250,000 in March to 400,000 in September 2008.


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