National rents were up by just 0.4 of a percentage point over the 12 months to the end of January 2019, but a simultaneous 5.6 per cent decline in dwelling value has pushed gross rental yields above 4.0 per cent for the first time since May 2016, new data is showing.
The national gross rental yield is 4.01 per cent, however it remains below the decade average of 4.29 per cent, according to the CoreLogic January home value index for January 2019.
National head of research at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the performance of rental conditions against housing values is lifting yields in every capital city, apart from Hobart and Darwin, despite relatively sluggish rental conditions.
Mr Lawless said the strongest rental growth was in Canberra; where rents were up 5.6 per cent over the year, but that in the remaining capital cities rents were unchanged over the past twelve months.
“The improved yield profile for Australian housing comes after rental yields moved through record lows during the growth phase,” he said.
“Gross yields across the combined capitals reached an all-time low of 3.39 per cent in August 2017 and have since improved to reach 3.75 per cent against a decade average of 4.06 per cent.”
But Mr Lawless made the point that, all-told, yields are gradually improving.
“The recovery back to average levels will be gradual, especially considering the weak rental market conditions across the cities with the lowest yield profile.
The index also shows that national dwelling values declined by 1 per cent over the first month of the year, taking the cumulative decline to 6.1 per cent.
The index found that the weakest conditions are in Sydney and Melbourne, where values have fallen by at least a full per cent each month since November last year.
Mr Lawless said both markets have seen an acceleration in the rate of decline over the past three months.
He said that Sydney dwelling values were down 4.5 per cent and Melbourne values were 4.0 per cent lower to January 2019.
“The rolling quarterly fall has been at the fastest pace since the downturn commenced,” said Mr Lawless.
“The latest results take Sydney dwelling values back to levels last seen roughly two and half years ago. In Melbourne, where the market peaked four months later than Sydney, dwelling values are back to January 2017 levels.”
Mr Lawless said that while most of the attention is on Australia’s two largest cities, weaker housing market conditions are evident across most of the capital cities.
“Every capital, apart from Canberra, recorded a month-on-month fall in dwelling values and only Hobart and Canberra recorded a rise in values over the past three months.
“While values aren’t falling across every broad region of the country, it’s clear that even within the areas where values are rising, the market has lost steam.”
Mr Lawless said that the only regions where the annual change in dwelling values has improved are Darwin, regional Tasmania and regional Northern Territory.
“The regional markets are generally showing healthier conditions relative to the capitals.
“The combined regional index was down 0.6 per cent over the three months ending January while the combined capitals index was down 3.3 per cent over the same period.
“Three of the seven broad ‘rest-of-state’ regions recorded a decline in values over the past three months. Regional NSW values were 1.3 per cent lower, while regional Queensland values were 0.3 per cent lower and regional WA values were down 0.8 per cent.”