House price trends confused

Are house prices in Australia rising or falling. The data is patchy for an indicator that borrowers and lenders would like to have more certainty about. One series, compiled by Australian Property Monitors, shows a decline in house prices in capital cities Australia-wide of 0.1 per cent during the March 2006 quarter, with declines of 1.1 per cent in each of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. However, prices increased by 5.4 per cent in Perth and by 1.1 per cent in Adelaide. Alternative data compiled by Residex that cover only the five largest capital cities show that house prices increased by 3.4 per cent during the March 2006 quarter. Over the year to March, APM found house prices increased by 1.7 per cent in Australia, while Residex estimates the increase at 5.8 per cent.