The FINANCIAL -- Australian house prices continued rising in the first quarter of the year, driven almost exclusively by gains in the Sydney market, according to Nasdaq.
The weighted average price of houses across Australia's capital cities rose by 1.6% from the fourth quarter of last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on June 23, and by 6.9% from a year earlier.
In the country's commercial capital, Sydney, home prices surged by 3.1%, adding to strong gains over several years that have fanned concerns of an overheating market. The rate of house-price growth in Sydney in the first quarter, both on-year and on-quarter, was close to double that of the national pace.
House prices in Perth, meanwhile, fell both on-quarter and on-year as the resource-rich state is hammered by the recent collapse in the iron-ore price and falling investment in mining activity in Western Australia state.
Official warnings over the pace of house-price growth have escalated. Central bank Gov. Glenn Stevens recently told economists that prices in Sydney were "crazy."
Interest rates have been cut twice this year to a record low 2.0%, as the reserve bank has moved to support economic growth, ease upward pressure on the Australian dollar, and head off rising unemployment.