- By Vikki Campion From: The Daily Telegraph April 03, 2010 12:00AM
SYDNEY house values have made a "surprise" recovery from six years of dormancy, climbing 3.9 per cent in the first quarter to a median price of $610,000, the latest data reveals.
And forecasters expect the growth to continue, with solid growth tipped for the rest of 2010.
Houses and units in the Emerald City beat the rest of the nation in the first three months of the year.
Sydney houses are now almost twice the value of Hobart while Sydney units recorded an Australia-wide high median price of $435,000.
The latest figures from RP Data come after the Sydney median auction price reached $770,000 last Saturday when 739 homes went under the hammer and almost $300 million of property was sold with a record clearance rate of 71.9 per cent.
Sydney has boomed after a stagnant six years when values rose by only 1.3 per cent a year on average.
Values over the past year rose 12.8 per cent in Sydney and 9 per cent in regional NSW.
Even rising interest rates and the end of the Federal Government's $14,000 first-homeowner handout did not halt a huge price jump for the three months to the end of February.
"It was reasonable to expect that these factors would have dampened market conditions, however this does not yet appear to be the case," Rpdata.com research director Tim Lawless said.
"Consumer confidence remains well above the long-term average thanks to better than expected domestic economic conditions, particularly an unemployment rate that has peaked much earlier and lower than anyone predicted."
Economists and property experts forecast "moderate" property gains this year on that confidence.
Real estate agents said houses were selling faster in middle-ring Sydney suburbs close to transport and "lifestyle" locations, with Ray White Brighton sales director Paul Nissirios saying suburbs in 20km of the CBD were hot spots for astute investors.
Residex head of research John Lindeman said the market was experiencing a roll-on effect from last year's first-home boom.