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Why property price growth will slow down later this year

Australian property price growth is expected to slow later this year with city apartments and houses in the far outer suburbs most at risk.

National property prices surged by 2.8 per cent in March - the fastest monthly pace since October 1988.

Sydney did even better with median house prices surging by 4.3 per cent in little more than four weeks to an even more unaffordable $1.112million, CoreLogic data showed.

While house prices are growing, apartment values aren't going up at quite the same pace, with national unit values last month edging up by 1.9 per cent.

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Australian property price growth is expected to slow later this year with city apartments and houses in the far outer suburbs most at risk. Pictured are houses at Cecil Hills in south-west Sydney

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn said unit values had not performed as well during the real estate boom, especially near the city.

'Apartments in particular, have performed more poorly over the past 12 months, particularly in CBD areas,' he told a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

'Whereas, freestanding, detached housing has performed much better.'

Property price records in March were set in 61 of Australia's 88 sub markets.

But Mr Comyn rejected a suggestion housing affordability across capital cities could be improved by boosting supply in far outer suburban areas during an exchange with Liberal MP Tim Wilson.

'Supply and demand in individual markets are quite different,' he said.

'There's very different performance in those sub-markets.'  

Stuart Wemyss, the founder of ProSolutions Private Clients mortgage broking firm, predicted house price growth will slow in late 2021, with homes in the outer ring suburbs most at risk.

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn said unit values had not performed as well during the real estate boom, especially near the city. He is pictured in Canberra on Thursday

'Locations that are dominated by lower income earners will probably under-perform compared to blue-chip locations,' he said.

'The reason is the lowest 40 per cent of income earners have been impacted by Covid the most.'

Mr Wemyss said established, blue-chip suburbs near the city were only likely to experience single-digit growth in 2021, well below the more optimistic forecasts of the big banks.

'These will continue to perform well but, I would not be surprised if price growth between now and the end of the year is less than 10 per cent per annum,' he said.

'That is, price growth will level out.'

 The big banks are still generally optimistic about the housing market with ANZ forecasting a 19 per cent surge in Sydney house prices in 2021 as capital city values climbed by 17 per cent. Apartment prices aren't rising at the same pace. Pictured are Mascot Towers in south Sydney

The big banks are still generally optimistic about the housing market with ANZ forecasting a 19 per cent surge in Sydney house prices in 2021 as capital city values climbed by 17 per cent.

Westpac is a little more subdued, forecasting 10 per cent gains nationally in both 2021 and 2022 - or 20 per cent over two years.

The Commonwealth Bank, Australia's biggest home lender, is a little less upbeat in with head of economics Gareth Aird in February predicting 9 per cent house price growth in 2021 followed by 7 per cent in 2022 - equating to 16 per cent over two years.

Nonetheless Mr Comyn was a little more optimistic, telling the House of Representatives Economics Committee on Thursday he expected 10 per cent growth this year. 

But several housing market watchers are already predicting a decline, with Digital Finance Analytics principal Martin North forecasting a 5 to 8 per cent drop in 2022 if a slow Covid vaccine rollout stalled Australia's economic recovery.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver predicted house prices would start falling by 5 to 10 per cent in 2023 if immigration remained turned off to prevent the spread of Covid. 

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