NSW and Queensland’s beach and country hot spots have been the first to register a quarterly fall in house values following the record-breaking growth rates among many of Australia’s regional lifestyle areas in recent times.  

The largest quarterly falls in house values occurred in the NSW region of Richmond-Tweed, which was down 4.5%, according to CoreLogic.  

There was a 3.5% decline in the Illawarra region and a 3% fall in Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, also located in NSW.  

The popular South-East Queensland regional lifestyle markets of the Sunshine and Gold coasts also saw house values decline 2.5% and 1.2%, respectively, over the past three months. 

CoreLogic Economist Kaytlin Ezzy said a number of the regional areas that previously saw some of the strongest growth over the COVID period were now showing weaker selling conditions as consecutive rate hikes, affordability constraints, falling consumer sentiments and high non-discretionary inflation put further downwards pressure on demand.  

“Typically, markets with a higher median value tend to lead the broader market when shifting through different cycles,” Ezzy said.  

“After recording some of the strongest value growth throughout the COVID period, each of these areas now have a median house value in excess of $1 million.  

“As we move further into the downward phase of the cycle we would expect to see this decline in values to spread into more regional areas.”  

Ten regions in total recorded values declines during the three months to July. 

Ezzy said it was likely that the decline in values witnessed in capital cities would become more widespread and impact regional areas, as interest rates moved higher and affordability pressures mounted. 

“Value declines are already being seen across more expensive regional markets, while the pace of growth has eased considerably across the combined regions’ broad middle and lower quartile markets,” she said.  

“However, as Australia’s housing market moves further into the downwards phase of the cycle, it’s possible the regional areas will be slightly more insulated than the capitals, thanks to these markets’ relative affordability and low advertised supply levels.  

“Additionally, the strong growth that’s occurred over the past two years should help cushion regional homeowners from the most extreme effects of the cycles downturn.”