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Inaugural Home Buyers Index reveals favourable conditions for buyers

June 16, 2011, Sydney: Commonwealth Bank today, together with RP Data, released its inaugural Home Buyers Index (HBI) report from Q1 2011, revealing a nationwide buyers market, due to a drop in purchases and an increase in homes for sale.

The report shows national property values fell by 2.1% during the first quarter of 2011 fuelled by weak results from January and February. Market performance across the state capitals is extremely varied with Sydney (-1.1%) and Melbourne (-1.5%) faring much better than Brisbane (-4.6%) and Perth (-3.4%). Outside the state capitals, house values fell by 1.8% over the quarter, going against the traditional trend where regional areas typically underperform when compared to capital cities.

Commonwealth Bank’s Michael Cant, Executive General Manager, Retail Products and Customers explains:

“We’re currently seeing a noticeable reduction in people purchasing properties and an increase in homes for sale. In fact the amount of houses sold in 2010, were the lowest of any year in more than a decade.”

However outlook for home prices is hardly dire. Resent research suggested home prices will be flat over 2011 before growing by approximately 5 per cent in 2012. As always, conditions will vary substantially from region to region.

In conjunction with the launch of the Home Buyers Index Report, Commonwealth Bank/RP Data has released the Home Buyers Index guide – a free interactive tool on Commonwealth Bank’s website ( where prospective buyers can gain insights into whether a particular suburb and its surrounding area is a buyer or seller's market.

State Capital Overview


Buying conditions have eased over the quarter, with stock levels rising and finance commitments softening. Prospective buyers in the Sydney market are likely to have an improved bargaining position relative to the same time last year and vendors are having to adjust their price expectations accordingly.


Selling conditions have been moderating since June of last year when homes were selling quickly and buyers had little room for negotiation. Melbourne market conditions have now moved to a fairly neutral position where buyers and sellers are reasonably evenly balanced.


The Brisbane market has been one of the weakest performing since the end of 2007 and the market conditions are still very much in favour of the buyer. Sellers will need to be realistic in their asking prices as buyers continue to hold a clear upper hand in negotiations.


Buyers and sellers are reasonably evenly balanced within the Adelaide market however conditions are turning in favour of the buyer. At the same time last year the Adelaide market was well and truly biased in favour of sellers.


Prospective home buyers in Perth remain in the driver’s seat, with the number of homes for sale still outweighing effective demand. The Index suggests that buyers are still enjoying a strong position when it comes to settling on the purchase price. Sellers will need to be flexible in their price expectations in order to make a sale.


The index for Hobart shows market conditions remain in favour of the buyer, which suggests some of the best buying conditions in recent times. Effective supply is now outweighing effective demand which is likely to result in a prime negotiation position for buyers.


The Darwin market has swiftly moved from being one of the strongest ‘sellers’ markets in the country to one where buyers are very much in the driver’s seat. Since about August last year selling conditions have been deteriorating and they have continued to do so quite rapidly over the last month.


Selling conditions have eased over the quarter however, the market remains quite balanced. The scope for price negotiation in Canberra is not likely to be as strong as it is in most other centres of the country.

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Notes To Editors: 
About the Commonwealth Bank/RP Data Home Buyers Index Report

Issued quarterly, the Commonwealth Bank/RP Data Home Buyers Index provides an estimate of the level of supply and demand that is evident within the Australian real estate market. To calculate an estimate of supply, RP Data closely monitors the number of homes available for sale around Australia, including those from leading real estate portal, and other real estate groups and advertising portals. On the demand side of the equation, Commonwealth Bank is the nation’s largest home loan lender, and as such can provide one of the timeliest and representative estimates of housing demand in the market place. The HBI is produced across a range of geographic boundaries, from a national index to state level indices, major regional indices, capital cities and broad regions within capital cities.

To access the report summary and to use the Home Buyer Index tool visit

CommSec Economic Research – March 3, 2011

Media contacts:

Tracy Hicks
Commonwealth Bank Public Relations Advisor
T: 02 9118 6919
M: 0478 306 055

Mitch Koper
Media & Comms Manager – RP Data      
M: 0417 771 778