House prices crawl slowly

House prices rose in the first three months of this year - but only just, official figures show.

House prices rose in the first three months of this year - but only just, official figures show.

As the Reserve Bank dropped official interest rates to historical lows, other figures suggest its governors need not fear a house price boom - values over the year have just kept pace with inflation.

Nationally, dwelling prices edged up 0.1 per cent in the March quarter to be 2.6 per cent higher over the year, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.

Contrary to recent reports from other property data providers that Sydney's prices had reached a new high, the ABS recorded no movement. But Melbourne and Canberra's prices were up by 0.2 per cent, Perth's climbed 1.2 per cent, while Darwin's rose most, 1.9 per cent.

Prices in Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart fell over the quarter, the ABS data suggests.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the data indicated the housing market had yet to feel the full benefit of last year's interest rate cuts. "It's still pointing to a positive trend in house prices but just not as strong as the market was expecting," he said.

Mr McCarthy cautioned against reading too much into the figures, noting house price data was volatile and difficult to assess.