The Australian housing market has recorded a sharp turnaround in recent months, led by capital cities.
According to the latest Domain House Price Report, the median house price increased by 2.7% to $773,635 in the three months ending September 2019.
The national median unit price also recovered, recording an increase of 1.8% to $539,256 over the September quarter.
From their peak to their lowest point, the national median house and median unit prices lost almost $65,000 and $43,000 respectively.
The median house price has now regained $21,000 – nearly a third of its losses – since the downturn, and the median unit price has regained $9,000, almost a quarter.
This is the first national quarterly growth in Australia since December 2017 and has mainly been driven by buoyant property markets in Sydney and Melbourne.
Experts have attributed the positive results to the re-election of the coalition government, cuts to mortgage serviceability rates, eased lending restrictions and house prices still yet to peak.
Furthermore, falling interest rates and an expected fourth cash rate cut early next year has fuelled buyer interest.
Check out the full breakdown of each capital city below.
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Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) owner-occupied home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.
Sydney saw the highest median house price increase of any capital city, jumping 4.8% (or almost $50,000) to $1.079 million.
Median unit prices also saw a significant increase, jumping 2.6% to $694,840.
These are the first quarterly gains in Sydney since 2017, with houses regaining almost one-third of the price falls that occurred during the recent slump while units have regained almost one fifth.
The strongest quarter house price growth was across the North West and Inner West markets.
Despite this, both house and unit prices remain lower than a year ago.
Buyers may have missed the bottom of the market, with prices reaching a low last quarter, however, affordability is still easy to find, with house and unit prices 9.9% and 10.6% below the 2017 peak respectively.
Melbourne house prices rebounded for a second consecutive quarter, increasing by 4.1% to $855,428 – the second-highest national increase in median house prices.
House prices were 10.7% below the December 2017 peak at the start of the year and are now just 5.9% below.
Melbourne median unit prices recorded the strongest national quarterly gain and their highest point on record in the September quarter, jumping 3.7% to $520,940.
Notably, house prices increased in Ballarat and Bendigo by 9.7% and 5.9% respectively.
Brisbane was one of only two capital cities to record a house price fall over both the quarter and the year to September 2019.
The median house prices dropped a marginal 1% in the quarter to $562,847, falling by 1.8% over the year.
Brisbane units fell 5.6% over the year, making it the steepest annual drop in just over 18 years.
Brisbane unit prices are 9% below their 2016 peak, representing a $37,000 reduction with the median price falling to $375,179.
Brisbane now has the fourth most affordable unit market of the Australian capital cities, according to Domain.
The ongoing decline has been attributed to high levels of supply, with many developments still under construction.
Adelaide’s property market was subdued in the September quarter with house prices slightly dropping by 0.6% to $538,550, down from the record high seen last quarter.
Despite this, Adelaide has been a steady long-term performer, making modest annual gains since mid-2013.
Adelaide units slid further from the record high achieved earlier in the year, down 5.2% to $302,756 over the quarter.
Adelaide is the second most affordable capital city for units, only behind Darwin.
Low demand has been attributed to state economic growth waning and unemployment rising for more than a year.
Perth median house prices dropped by 1% to $527,107, while median unit prices increased by 2.8% to $344,672.
The Western Australian capital firmly remains a buyers market with house and unit prices 14.4% and 18.2$ below the 2014 record high respectively.
Despite this, the pace of unit and house price falls has slowed compared to the September 2018 quarter.
Perth is fast becoming a more attractive investment location, with asking rents rising, rental yields improving and lower purchase prices compared to most capital cities.
Hobart remains the best performing city for capital growth, experiencing the strongest annual gain compared to the mainland cities.
For the quarter, median house prices saw a 1.3% increase to $482,960 while median unit prices rose 1.7% to $395,715.
Despite the median house price increasing about $12,000 over the year, Hobart remains the most affordable capital city, but with the lowest average wage, affordability has become increasingly stretched for local buyers.
Canberra median house prices have weakened for three consecutive quarters for the first time since 2011, dropping 0.7% to $738,864 this time around.
Homeowners in the nation’s capital continue to be provided with steady equity growth, which has risen annually for just over six years.
Median unit prices dropped steeply, down 4.4% to $432,252, with the Woden Valley and the Inner North the worst-performing regions for the quarter.
Darwin median house prices saw a marginal increase of 1% to $521,651 while median unit prices dropped by 3.3% to $294,951, the lowest price since mid-2008.
Darwin house and unit prices continue to be affected by weak economic conditions that have unravelled since the end of the mining boom.
Prices remain well below the peak values seen between 2013 and 2016: unit prices are 39% below their 2016 peak and houses are 23% below their peak seen in 2013.
Slow population growth continues to have a drag on the housing market overall.
Median house prices
|National (excludes Darwin)||$773,635||2.70%||-1.00%|
|Source: Domain House Price Report|
The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:
- The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
- The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
- The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.
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*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may inﬂuence the cost of the loan.
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