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Stricter lending practices across the board have resulted in house prices stalling throughout the country in April.

Published: 15 May 2018

For the first time since November 2012, dwelling values across the combined Aussie capitals in April 2018 recorded an annual decline – down 0.3 per cent. The month also recorded the slowest growth month-on-month since December 2015 of just 0.1 per cent largely due to harsher lending standards for property investors.

In the largest markets, property prices in Sydney, where more than half of new mortgages have gone to investors, slumped along at -0.4 per cent, with Melbourne also limping with -0.4 per cent growth.

Brisbane had a smaller decline of -0.1 per cent, whilst Perth and Adelaide stalled at 0.0 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively. However, given that April tends to be a slower property month as people are often busy or away due to Easter, school holidays and Anzac Day, soft results were always to be expected.

On the upside, Darwin and Canberra both marked rises of 0.6 per cent. The star performer was once again Hobart with a monthly growth of 1.2 per cent. Over the quarter the Tassie capital also recorded a 3.6 per cent jump, easily outpacing all other cities.

However, CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless says to be wary of the apple isle’s steady surge as it may not last too much longer.

Mr Lawless says based on the data, the Hobart market is already overheated and may soon start to ‘peak out’. For the past year, Hobart properties have been rapidly rising at double digit growth. However, this has emerged at the tail-end of a fairly weak long-term performance, so investors need to start viewing it with some caution.

State Custodians General Manager Joanna Pretty says it’s important for investors and home owners to continue to grow their investments even in a flat or falling market.

"There are lots of relatively inexpensive improvements you can continue to make to your property which will help to up the value," she says. "You could spruce up the kitchen by replacing all the cabinet doors and handles or replace a dated counter top with a stone one instead. So many buyers place importance on the kitchen, that any refresh will always have appeal. Even painting the interior a fresh white and freshening up the façade with new paint or tuck pointing can make an positive impact when it comes to selling.

"By adding updates here and there, you’ll still be ahead of much of the pack by the time the market improves if you want to sell."

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