Rents were up nationally by 0.4 per cent over the last 12 months to January 2019, and the value decline has seen gross rental yields also rise to 4.01 per cent.
Rental conditions have outperformed housing values and as such yields were up in every capital city except Hobart and Darwin for the last 12 months.
Despite the gradual improvement in yields, Mr Lawless said the recovery back to regular levels is expected to be further gradual.
While Mr Lawless said January can be a difficult month for interpreting property data, recent trends have remained consistent over the last three months, with the declines increasing and growth moderating.
“Tight credit conditions, weakening consumer sentiment, less domestic and foreign investment and higher levels of housing supply are the primary drivers of the worsening conditions,” he said.
“The January index results, as well as peripheral housing data are likely to foreshadow a challenging year for the housing market.
“There may be a further dent to confidence as we approach the federal election and housing finance conditions are likely to remain tight after the hand down of the Hayne royal commission report which is due on Monday.”