SYDNEY May 1 Home prices across Australia's
major cities crept up by 0.3 percent in April from the previous
month when they jumped 2.3 percent, pointing to some cooling in
what has been an increasingly hot market.
Yet figures from property consultant RPData-Rismark showed
dwelling prices were still 11.5 percent higher than in April
last year, a step up from March's 10.6 percent annual pace.
Adelaide led the way in April with a rise of 2.1 percent,
compared to March, while prices in Melbourne and Canberra dipped
in the month.
In annual terms, Sydney was out in front with price gains of
16.7 percent followed by Melbourne at 11.6 percent. The median
price of a home across all capitals was A$550,000 ($510,000).
The gains have been very much concentrated in the cities
with prices outside the capitals falling 0.8 percent in April to
be just 2.6 percent higher for the year.
Rising home prices have so far been considered by
policymakers as necessary to encourage a much-needed revival in
home building, which is indeed underway.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which cut interest
rates to an historic low of 2.5 percent last August, has been
counting on home construction to provide vital support to the
economy as a long boom in mining investment cools.
But the central bank has become more concerned about a surge
in borrowing to buy homes for investment, warning that
double-digit price increases cannot be sustained.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer)