Australia Home Asking Prices Rise as Confidence Climbs, SQM Says

Price expectations of home sellers are climbing across Australia as confidence of a recovery in the real estate market grows, according to SQM Research Pty.

Asking prices rose 0.4 percent for apartments and 1.5 percent for houses in the 90 days to Feb. 19 across the nation’s eight major cities, the Sydney-based researcher said in an e-mailed release of its first weekly asking prices index. They’re 2.3 percent higher for houses than a year earlier and 1.6 percent for apartments, it said.

“A rise in asking prices suggests home sellers are becoming more confident of market conditions,” SQM said in the release. It also shows “buyers are bidding more aggressively for real estate.”

Reductions in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s benchmark interest rate to 3 percent, a level matching a half-century low, have helped boost home prices across Australia. Prices in the five biggest cities climbed 1.1 percent yesterday from a year earlier, the RP Data-Rismark Daily Home Value Index showed.

Online home listings dropped 13 percent in January from a year earlier to the lowest level in three years, indicating an increase in purchases, SQM said in a separate report this month.

Darwin apartments had the biggest increase in asking prices, surging almost 20 percent from a year earlier. Detached housing in Hobart and Canberra remain favorable to buyers, with asking prices dropping 3.9 percent and 3.6 percent respectively from a year ago, SQM said.

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