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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

House prices fall in Sydney for first time in 18 months

House prices in Sydney dipped for the first time in 18 months in April, according to new data, as regulators continue to take action to cool the market by curbing growth in investor loans.

CoreLogic’s figures for April show Sydney house prices have fallen 0.04% for the first time since December 2015, while Melbourne’s property prices have risen 0.5%, half as much as the previous month.

Slower house price growth last month will be welcomed by would-be homebuyers, especially first-time buyers who have been locked out of the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

Home prices in Sydney have more than doubled since the financial crisis hit in January 2009, while prices in Melbourne are up almost 93%.

However, it is too early to call the peak of the marketplace because April is seasonal with Easter, school holidays and the Anzac Day long weekend affecting property sales.

The latest figures from CoreLogic comes as the Turnbull government reportedly plans to charge foreigners up to $5,000 (£2,900) for leaving their Australian homes vacant - a so-called ‘ghost house’ tax - as part of changes to be announced in next week’s budget.

The government is also reportedly planning to ban overseas nationals from acquiring more than half of homes in a new build scheme, in an effort to help more Australians get a foot on the housing ladder.

Residential property prices across Australia’s eight major cities increased by just 0.1% last month, reducing the annual growth in prices down from 12.9% in March to 11.2%, CoreLogic said.

Tim Lawless, the head of research at CoreLogic, commented: “The higher cost of debt, as well as stricter lending and servicing criteria, has likely dented investment demand over recent months.

“But we need to be cautious in calling a peak in the market after only one month of soft results.” 

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