COAST AVOIDS PROPERTY CRUNCH FROM CAPITALS

COAST AVOIDS PROPERTY CRUNCH FROM CAPITALS

CAPITAL city property markets may have stalled, but that doesn't appear to have derailed the Gold Coast's property recovery.

According to the latest figures from Domain, house prices fell in all capital cities during the March quarter.

It also reveals that the national median house price has fallen for the second successive quarter as reduced activity from Chinese buyers starts to bite.

Darwin and the nation's hottest market, Sydney, experienced the biggest price falls during the period.

Sydney's issues were highlighted this week when real estate agency McGrath (ASX:MEA) issued a profit downgrade and revealed a slump of up to 30 per cent in listings in Sydney's north and north-west.

However, the Gold Coast market, which had been lagging the big capitals for some time head of a recovery that started in earnest about 18 months ago, appears to be bucking the trend.

Ray White Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast's largest real estate agency, has reported a rise in listings in recent months after a relative shortage over the past two years.

Ray White Surfers Paradise CEO Andrew Bell (pictured) says he isn't concerned about a price correction and reduced offshore buyer activity in Sydney in particular.

"I would describe the current state of the Gold Coast property market as comfortable,"  says Bell.

He says the pace of price growth on the Gold Coast has been more subdued than in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the past few years.

"The Gold Coast has been rising at a manageable and comfortable pace that the market can absorb," he says.

"The boom of 2007 was promptly followed by a significant price correction on the Gold Coast, and there are no signs of that being repeated."

Bell points out that despite the slowdown in Sydney's price growth, auction clearance rates remain strong.

"A drop in listings doesn't actually reflect a weak market," he says.

"A weak market is lack of buyer demand and a shortage of listings will usually put upward pressure on prices."

Among other key findings in the latest Domain report is a stalling of apartment prices nationally.

Over the March quarter, there were no price gains for apartments across any of Australia's capitals.

Darwin and Perth copped the worst of it with falls of 4.1 and 3.7 per cent respectively for apartments over the quarter.

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