Homebuyers hoping recent falls in the Australian sharemarket will translate into a drop in property prices could be disappointed, if history is any guide, given house prices rose after the global financial crisis in 2008.

But economists also warn the economic situation now is different from the 2008 crisis, and today’s ultra-low interest rates are likely to be a bigger driver of the property market than share-price movements.

The global spread of coronavirus has raised fears for the health of the Australian economy as the tourism and education sectors take a hit, with investors selling off local shares. Monday’s fall was the worst since the GFC and the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 sharemarket index is 17.4 per cent lower than its February peak, despite a Tuesday afternoon rally that saw a 3.1 per cent daily lift.

The path of interest rates offers a clue to previous housing market activity in times of economic uncertainty.

Before the global financial crisis, interest rates were rising in a bid to control strong inflation and as mortgages got more expensive, housing prices were falling.