Melbourne will see the highest price growth of any capital city next year, HSBC has forecast.
In the latest HSBC Australia Downunder Digest report, HSBC Australia chief economist Paul Bloxham forecasts 4% to 8% price growth in Melbourne for 2016, after 7% to 8% growth in 2015.
Bloxham expects that in 2015, Melbourne and Sydney will "continue to outpace the rest of the nation", noting that from its mid-2012 trough, Melbourne's housing prices have increased by 20%.
However, Bloxham does not raise the prospect of a housing bubble in Melbourne as he did for Sydney, where HSBC predicts prices could fall by 2% in 2016 when they expect interest rates to increase.
He also noted the impact of foreign buyers on demand for Australian property, explaining that Foreign Investment Review Board figures "suggest a strong rise in foreign investment in Australian housing in 2014, with particular strength in investment in new dwellings." (see chart below).
"Much of the interest from foreign buyers is in the Sydney and Melbourne new apartment markets," writes Bloxham.
While Bloxham notes that foreign investment "is only a relatively small proportion of overall housing turnover", it is "likely to be having some effect on housing prices".
Victoria, which has seen the highest dwelling approvals of any state since 2009, is likely to see continued strength in the construction sector, according to Bloxham.
"As Australia's growth rebalances away from the mining states towards the south-eastern states – of New South Wales and Victoria – the strongest ramp-up in construction should be expected in these states," states the report.