SYDNEY, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Australian home prices slipped again in October, falling for the 13th month in a row with losses in Sydney and Melbourne deepening amid tightening credit conditions.
Property consultant CoreLogic said its index of home prices nationally dropped 0.5 percent in October from September, leading to an annual fall of 3.5 percent, the weakest since February 2012.
Values in the combined capital cities fell 0.6 percent in the month and 4.6 percent for the year. Prices outside the cities eased 0.2 percent in October, but were still 0.8 percent higher from a year earlier.
“With such broad-based weakness in housing market conditions, it’s clear that tighter credit availability is acting as a drag on housing demand and impacting adversely on the performance of housing values across most areas of the country,” said CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.
Regulators have clamped down on risky lending by banks, particularly for interest-only loans, while a raft of scandals across the industry has added to an air of caution.
The slowdown has been greatest in Sydney where home prices skidded 7.4 percent on the year, though Melbourne was catching up with an annual drop of 4.7 percent.
Sydney and Melbourne comprise about 60 percent of Australia’s housing market by value and 40 percent by number.
The weakness was concentrated in the premium sector of the housing market in Sydney and Melbourne, with less expensive property faring much better, noted Lawless.
“With credit availability remaining tight and rising inventory levels, we are expecting there will be further downward pressure on housing values as we move through spring and into summer and the new year,” Lawless said.
“With total listing numbers likely to push higher over the final quarter of the year, buyers are becoming more empowered and will increasingly find themselves in a stronger position when it comes to negotiating on prices.” (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Chris Reese)