The ABS has compiled a house price index since 1986. A significant review of the index occurred in 2004. Several improvements were implemented as a result of this review and a new series (Series 1) of the index was introduced in the September quarter 2005 issue (with improvements applied back to the March quarter 2002). The most significant change was the introduction of a stratification approach to compile the house price index. (See above, under How the data is processed, for a detailed description of the index methodology including the stratification approach.) For more information on the 2004 review, see Information Paper: Renovating the Established House Price Index.
The historical series, from 1986 to 2005, continues to be available as an indicator of established house price movements over a longer period. This historical series is not directly comparable to the existing house price index series post 2002, due to the change in methodology resulting from the 2004 review.
A second review of the house price index was undertaken in 2007. This review refined the stratification method and updated the dwelling stock values using 2006 Census data. Outcomes of the 2007 review were introduced in the December quarter 2008 issue, creating Series 2, which was linked to Series 1 at the March quarter 2008.
The next review, in 2012, resulted in the expansion in scope beyond the existing house price index to include attached dwellings and produce an aggregate residential property price index. The dwelling stock values were also updated using data from the 2011 Census. This third series (i.e. Series 3) was introduced in the December quarter 2013 issue and linked to Series 2 at the March quarter 2013. The index reference period for all indexes was also updated to 2011-12 = 100 in the December quarter 2013 issue.
In 2014, the residential property price index work program was reviewed in response to planned reductions to the ABS work program. The outcomes of this review were implemented in the March quarter 2015.
In summary, the changes from the 2014 review were:
- all Australian residential property sales data used to compile the price indexes and related statistics would now be supplied to the ABS by CoreLogic
- from the March quarter 2015 the suite of residential property price indexes are considered final when first released
- the method of calculating prices in the total value of the dwelling stock was modified, due to the change in timing of the release
- the unstratified median price and number of dwelling transfers series would now be published up to the current quarter.
This review did not result in the introduction of a new index series. For more information on the implementation of the outcomes of the review please refer to the Feature Article: Implementation of the ABS Residential Property Price Index Review Outcomes in the March quarter 2015 issue.
The most recent review of the residential property price index and the total value of the dwelling stock was conducted in 2018, with updates introduced in the December quarter 2018 issue. Outcomes of this review include:
- the weights and variables used to stratify the indexes were updated using data from the 2016 Census
- inputs used to compile the total value of the dwelling stock were updated using data from the 2016 Census
- changes to the residential property sales dataset supplied by CoreLogic were implemented.
The new price index series (Series 4) was linked to the existing series (Series 3) at the September quarter 2018. Updates to the total value of the dwelling stock were incorporated into the series over a number of quarters. A two year window was used to smooth in the change for the household series, while a four year window was used for the non-household series. Revisions to the unstratified median price and number of dwelling transfers series resulting from the changes to the residential property sales dataset have been incorporated from March quarter 2014, when CoreLogic data was introduced into this series.
Details of the concepts, sources and methods underlying the compilation of the current index series (Series 4) are described in the Residential Property Price Indexes: Concepts, Sources and Methods.