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House prices surge $100,000 in just three months to a new record high – but unit values hardly move

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Sydney house prices have surged by $100,000 in just three months marking the fastest quarterly pace of growth ever recorded.

Across Australia’s capital cities, house prices are surging at a double digit annual pace as apartment values fall in the same markets with interest rates at record lows. 

Property sales group Domain said Sydney’s house prices surge was the fastest three month pace since it began keeping records in 1993, back when it was a newspaper lift-out section.

Sydney’s median house price, based on sales data, surged to a new record high of $1.309million in the March quarter as values soared $103,000 or by 8.5 per cent in just three months.

Sydney’s median house price surged to a new record high of $1.309million in the March quarter as values soared $103,000 or by 8.5 per cent in just three months. Pictured is a Baulkham Hills house with a price guide of $1.6million

Where house prices are surging

SYDNEY: Up 8.5 per cent in March quarter; 12.6 per cent annually to $1.309million

CANBERRA: Up 9.7 per cent in March quarter; 19.5 per cent annually to $927,577

HOBART: Up 7.6 per cent in March quarter; 15.9 per cent annually to $601,567

DARWIN: Up 9.1 per cent to $554,295; 8.4 per cent annually

Source: Domain House Price Report for the March quarter of 2021 on median house prices

Buyers were particularly interested in the eastern suburbs, Northern Beaches, Baulkham Hills and the Hawkesbury with more expensive homes pulling up the mid-point house price.

Sydney’s annual growth pace of 12.6 per cent was the fastest since the peak of the last boom in 2017.  

Nonetheless, apartment values hardly moved in Sydney, rising by a miserable annual pace of just 0.2 per cent to $751,038.

In Sydney, first-home buyers would most likely only be able to afford a unit with $500,000 to $750,000 the median budget for property newcomers, a Finder survey of 1,028 people found.

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said only Sydney house owners were really benefiting from the boom.

‘All Sydney regions have hit record high house prices,’ she said.

‘There is a clear compositional difference in Sydney’s housing rebound: units continue to underperform compared to houses.’

Despite the price surges, Sydney’s wasn’t even the best performing house market.

Canberra’s median house price surged by 9.7 per cent in just three months to $927,577, also the fastest quarterly growth pace since records began in 1993, as values soared at a whopping annual pace of 19.5 per cent.

Canberra's median house price surged by 9.7 per cent in just three months to $927,577, also the fastest quarterly growth pace since records began in 1993, as values soared at a whopping annual pace of 19.5 per cent. Pictured is a $995,000 house at Holt

Canberra’s median house price surged by 9.7 per cent in just three months to $927,577, also the fastest quarterly growth pace since records began in 1993, as values soared at a whopping annual pace of 19.5 per cent. Pictured is a $995,000 house at Holt

And where apartment prices are falling

CANBERRA: Down 5 per cent in March quarter to $473,304

DARWIN: Down 1.8 per cent in March quarter to $293,731 to be $193,000 below 2016 high

HOBART: Down 0.8 per cent in March quarter to $430,716

BRISBANE: Down 0.5 per cent in March quarter and down 1.1 per cent over the year to $398,612

Source: Domain House Price Report for the March quarter on median apartment prices

But in the same city, apartment prices dived by 5 per cent in the March quarter to $473,304 to post weak annual growth of just 2.8 per cent.

Hobart was another big where house prices boomed as apartment prices fell.

The Tasmanian capital’s mid-point house prices climbed by 7.6 per cent in the March quarter and by 15.9 per cent over the year to $601,567.

During the same time frames, Hobart apartment prices fell by 0.8 per cent in the March quarter and by 0.9 per cent over the year to $430,716.

Darwin’s median house price climbed by 9.1 per cent in three months to $554,295 – although it is still $124,000 below the 2013 peak.

Northern Territory capital unit prices fell by 1.8 per cent in the March quarter.

Nonetheless, median apartment price climbed by 20.2 per cent over the year to $293,731 but this was still $193,000 below the 2016 high.

Brisbane was another market where house prices rose as apartment values fell.

Queensland capital house prices edged up to 1.7 per cent in the quarter and by 6.2 per cent over the year to $632,999.

But Brisbane’s median unit price fell by 0.5 per cent in the quarter and by 1.1 per cent over the year to $398,612.

But in Canberra, apartment prices dived by 5 per cent in the March quarter to $473,304 to post weak annual growth of just 2.8 per cent. Pictured are units at Belconnen

But in Canberra, apartment prices dived by 5 per cent in the March quarter to $473,304 to post weak annual growth of just 2.8 per cent. Pictured are units at Belconnen

In the other capital cities, house prices increases were less spectacular with Melbourne’s median value rising by 4.8 per cent over the quarter and 7.3 per cent annually to $974,397.

Apartment prices in the Victorian capital increased by 2.2 per cent over the quarter and 3.5 per cent annually to $568,793.

Perth was the only capital city market where house and apartment prices both increased strongly, at least over the year.

West Australian capital house prices rose by 2.4 per cent in the quarter and by 9.2 per cent over the year to $578,612.

Apartment values increased by a healthy 3.9 per cent in three months and by 7.1 per cent annually to $371,445.

The Westpac bank, which is now expecting Sydney and Melbourne property prices to fall by 1 per cent in 2023, on Wednesday raised its four and five-year fixed mortgage rates. 

It is still offering fixed rates of less than 2 per cent for one, two and three years.

But Westpac has increased longer-term rates by 30 basis points with four-year rates rising to 2.19 per cent and five-year terms increasing to 2.49 per cent.

Darwin's median house price climbed by 9.1 per cent in three months to $554,295 - although it is still $124,000 below the 2013 peak. Pictured is a $559,000 house at Karama

Darwin’s median house price climbed by 9.1 per cent in three months to $554,295 – although it is still $124,000 below the 2013 peak. Pictured is a $559,000 house at Karama 

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