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Sydney and Melbourne house prices fall again

CoreLogic has released its monthly property price update today. According to the CoreLogic hedonic home value index national dwelling values were steady in March.

However, there was significant differences between cities and regions. The combined capitals figure saw a 0.2% decrease in the value and the combined regional areas saw a 0.4% increase.

The headline figure for Sydney is that dwelling prices fell by 0.3% in March, declined 1.7% over the past quarter and it’s down 2.1% over the past year.

Melbourne saw a decline of 0.2% in March and prices fell by 0.5% over the past three months. Adelaide was the other capital city to show a decline, prices went down by 0.3% in March.

Things are looking a lot better in other cities. Hobart prices went up by 1.7% for March, Darwin went up by 1%, Canberra went up by 0.2% and Brisbane went up 0.1%. Hobart has posted an impressive 13% annual increase over the past year.

CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, said “The stronger combined regional markets performance continues a trend that began to emerge in October last year where regional housing markets showed an overall improvement in the pace of capital gains while the combined capitals trend softened.

“The broad-based falls highlight that the softening trend in the Australian housing market is largely due to weaker conditions in Sydney, however, most other capitals are also recording subtle falls.”

Foolish takeaway

The up and down of share prices are much more extreme compared to property, so these house price changes aren’t big movements and it certainly doesn’t represent a huge crash. However, heavily indebted investors are relying on price rises so further price decreases are not good for homeowner equity of their property.

Officials at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) will be keeping a close eye on things if prices keep going down.

I’d much rather invest in top shares like these compared to property with the way prices are gently declining at the moment.

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