While housing market sentiment in Australia went unchanged in the final quarter of 2017, confidence levels have softened, according to National Australia Bank’s (NAB) Quarterly Australian Residential Property Survey Q4 2017.  

NAB’s Residential Property Index held steady (+20) in the fourth quarter at above average levels (+14), with sentiment towards the residential property market remaining positive in most states.

“Trends have however been mixed in recent quarters and the latest survey showed a clear shift in momentum from the key eastern states towards the rest of the country,” said Alan Oster, chief economist at NAB.

Sentiment increased sharply in South Australia and the Northern Territory, as expectations around house prices and rents edged up. Western Australia also reported its strongest read since early 2014, though it’s still negative.

As for the eastern states, sentiment dropped significantly in Victoria and New South Wales. In the latter, the slowdown in dwelling prices appears to be having a much greater impact, with sentiment falling to its lowest level in 24 months. Sentiment was largely unchanged in Queensland.

Confidence levels (based on expectations for prices and rents) have also dropped, led by NSW and VIC, with SA and NT seeing the biggest improvements.

“This improvement mirrors recent findings in our own business survey which shows SA also reporting above average business conditions and strong confidence” Oster said.

First-home buyers (particularly those buying for owner occupation) continued to raise their profile in the December quarter in new and established housing markets. Overall, they accounted for almost two in five sales in new housing markets, and around one in three in established housing markets.

Related Stories:
Stricter Regulations Could Stabilise Housing Market
Hobart Homes Seller Faster; Sydney Lags