By James Glynn

SYDNEY--Australian house prices rose at the fastest pace in seven years through 2016, albeit there was a huge disparity between capital cities in terms of performance.

According to Corelogic, capital city house prices increased by 1.4% in December from November, with annual growth running at 10.9%, representing the fastest pace since 2009.

Still, prices in Perth fell 4.3% in 2016 as the downturn in mining investment continued to weigh on the resource-rich state of Western Australia. In the east of the country, Sydney posted gains of 15.5% last year, with Melbourne and Hobart posting gains of more than 10%, the report said.

Property prices are under close watch at the Reserve Bank of Australia, which has indicated it won't rush into further interest rate cuts unless the economy slows. RBA Gov. Philip Lowe is concerned about rising debt levels in the housing market.

The strength in the house market comes despite efforts by the banking regulator to make it harder for investors to access credit for mortgages, while foreign investors are also being actively discouraged.

-Write to James Glynn at james.glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2017 18:31 ET (23:31 GMT)

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