House vs unit price disparity spells trouble for unit upgraders: CoreLogic

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on October 15, 2021
House vs unit price disparity spells trouble for unit upgraders: CoreLogic

Housing price growth has left unit prices in the dust, which could make it more difficult for apartment dwellers to buy their own homes.

The disparity between house and unit price growth isn't a new concept, but the housing boom has created an even bigger gap between these two types of properties according to CoreLogic data.

The average housing value has risen 22.9% in the 12 months to September, versus 12% for apartments, which poses a barrier for those looking to upgrade from an apartment to a house according to CoreLogic's Head of Residential Research Eliza Owen.

Looking to capital cities, the gap is at a 'record high', with the median house price sitting 34.4% higher than units.

Below are the local government areas (LGAs) with the biggest disparities between house and unit prices in each capital city of Australia as of September 2021.

LGA House price Unit price Unit value as a portion of house price value
Walkerville, Adelaide $1,339,874 $410,011 30.6%
Scenic Rim, Brisbane $569,348 $261,636 46%
Palmerston, Darwin $509,475 $299,621 58.8%
Kingborough, Hobart $780,834 $544,175 71%
Stonnington, Melbourne $2,518,739 $652,686 25.9%
Mosman Park, Perth $1,797,852 $384,632 21.4%
Strathfield, Sydney $2,876,380 $662,094 23%

Source: CoreLogic

On a broader scale, below are the disparities between house and unit prices in each capital city as well as the ACT.

Capital city House price Unit price Unit value as a portion of house price value
Adelaide $575,949 $367,079 63.7%
Brisbane $709,136 $430,000 60.6%
Darwin $563,357 $353,158 62.7%
Hobart $704,321 $542,464 77%
Melbourne $962,250 $619,443 64.4%
Perth $548,351 $398,502 72.2%
Sydney $1,311,641 $824,860 62.9%
ACT $956,119 $538,071 56.3%

Source: CoreLogic

What does this mean for apartment dwellers looking to upgrade?

Mossman Park is the 'most startling' example of the gap between houses and unit prices.

This is because the price of a unit would be slightly above the standard deposit needed to buy a house in the same area.

Even still, the disparity between house and unit values might not be bad news for buyers.

"The flip side of a lower proportion of housing stock is that there is a higher density of relatively cheap stock, which accommodates greater socioeconomic diversity for living closer to the CBD," Ms Owen said.

"But looking at the change in unit values as a portion of housing over time, shows apartment owners in the current market would be able to put less towards a house than they could five years ago."

Ms Owen said this would be 'particularly frustrating' for those trying to start a family or wanting more space.

"Looking forward, we could see unit purchases becoming more popular as demand is deflected away from houses simply due to affordability constraints becoming more pressing across the detached housing sector where values have risen substantially more than units," Ms Owen said.

She also said interest in medium to high density style housing could pick up as investor activity upticks. 


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Rachel is a Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2021. Coming from a background in the FinTech space, her interests include the innovation of lending technology, property, investing, and more. With a passion for educating and informing people about their finances, she hopes to increase the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

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