The turnaround from the COVID-19-led crunch has provided a much-needed windfall to consumer wealth and confidence, with the country's housing stock already valued at A$7.2 trillion ($5.55 trillion) by September. SYDNEY: Australian home prices climbed for a third straight month in December as 2020 ended on a strong note across major cities and regional markets, with analysts expecting more gains this year as buyers outnumber sellers. The turnaround from the COVID-19-led crunch has provided a much-needed windfall to consumer wealth and confidence, with the country's housing stock already valued at A$7.2 trillion ($5.55 trillion) by September. Data from property consultant CoreLogic out on Monday showed national home prices rose 1.0% in December, from November when they added 0.8%. Values were up 3.0% on the previous December. Prices across the major capitals rose 0.9% in December from November, while the regional market surged 1.6% as city dwellers smarting from coronavirus lockdowns sought more living space and houses with gardens. Sydney managed a gain of 0.7%, while Melbourne increased 1.0%. Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide all rose 1.1% in the month. Values for the combined capitals were 2.0% higher for the year, while regional prices jumped 6.9% "As remote working opportunities became more prevalent and demand for lifestyle properties and lower density housing became more popular, regional areas saw housing market conditions surge," said CoreLogic's head of research, Tim Lawless. The gains have been concentrated in houses, with the apartment sector hit by a glut of new supply and a fall off in demand amid restrictions on international tourism and migration. While home sales recovered strongly in the last few months, listings remained below average. "Low advertised stock levels reflect a rapid rate of absorption; put simply there are more active buyers than new listings being added to the market," said Lawless. "With home buyers outnumbering sellers, most areas around the country represent a seller's market." ($1 = 1.2982 Australian dollars) - Reuters
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