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Australia’s median house price soars past $1 million

Australia’s median house price has hit a record high soaring above $1 million according to new data.

The latest Domain House Price Report shows that in the December quarter the median house price of the combined capital cities climbed 6.5 per cent to $1,066,133. This is a staggering 25.2 per cent growth in the past 12 months.

While the combined capital unit price also reached a new record high of $621,880 up 7.7 per cent in 2021.

Sydney is still the most expensive city to buy a house, with the median price rising to $1,601,467, while Canberra now has the second most expensive house prices in the country after its values rose an incredible 36.6 per cent over the past year, taking the median price to $1,178,364.

In the December quarter, Brisbane’s median house price increased 10.7 per cent, taking the median price to $792,065. Adelaide’s median house price jumped 8.6 per cent to $731,547, while Melbourne’s median increased 5.8 per cent to $1,101,612.

Only Darwin failed to record growth in the quarter, with median house prices remaining unchanged at $640,068, while Perth was up just 1.8 per cent to $612,348. Both cities are still below their previous mining boom highs.

Domain Chief of Research and Economics Dr Nicola Powell said record-low interest rates and historically low levels of listings have combined to drive Australian house prices into the millions.

“House and unit prices continue to beat records nationally due to lockdown activity rebounds in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, high household savings and the ongoing demand from Australians to buy a property,” Dr Powell said.

“Demand continues to outstrip supply across a majority of the cities, however rapid price growth and affordability issues are likely to shift demand in 2022. Price growth has slowed from earlier in 2021 but it is higher than last quarter.”

Domain Chief Revenue Officer John Foong noted the recent move towards detached housing was seeing house prices outpace units.

“Domain’s House Price Report shows that house prices have risen three times faster than units over the past year and with changing market dynamics afoot, we’re likely to see price expectations high on the list in living room conversations,” Mr Foong said.

“As consumers look to more affordable options, we’re seeing increases in keyword searches for ‘duplex’, ‘dual’ and ‘unit’ and believe that although Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide set new record unit prices, house prices continue to gain the highest yields for investors.”


Sydney house prices rose about $1,100 per day in 2021, a total rise of almost $400,000, to a new record of $1.6 million.

At 33.1 per cent, this is Sydney’s highest annual rate of growth on record. Unit price growth increased 8.3 per cent annually, hitting a record high of $802,255.

Dr Powell said housing affordability was a real issue across Sydney.

“House prices have grown four times faster than units over the past year, a divergence that has created a record price gap with houses now double the price of a unit,” she said.

“The rapid escalation in price is proving to be a significant financial barrier to entry for buyers and upgraders against a backdrop of low wage growth. Housing affordability will continue to weigh on demand throughout 2022.”


Buyer and seller activity rebounded post lockdown with house prices reaching a new record high at $1.1 million (5.8 per cent quarterly growth), and unit prices hit a record high of $593,387 (3.9 per cent quarterly growth, strongest in two years).

“Although Melbourne’s severe and extended lockdowns came to an end, we have seen many businesses close and residents move away from the city,” Dr Powell said.

“This means that the availability of homes for sale is building, with total supply now sitting at 10 per cent above the five-year average, and the value of new home loans has eased from its peak. Sellers should move into 2022 with some confidence that the pace of price growth will ease, and they will need to have a more realistic view of pricing because buyers now have more choices.”


Greater Brisbane house prices grew by 10.7 per cent over the December quarter and 25.7 per cent annually, the steepest increase in almost 18 years.

Unit prices grew 2 per cent over the quarter and 3.5 per cent annually, for the first time since mid-2016, hitting a new record of $416,033.

Supply is 41 per cent below the five-year average for December, one the deepest declines of all the capital cities according to Dr Powell.

“The rapid price escalation will prove to be a financial hurdle for entry buyers,” she said.

“It will also be challenging to upgrade from a unit to a house, particularly against a backdrop of low wages growth. While housing affordability remains less challenging in Greater Brisbane compared to other cities, the volume of choice is problematic, making it highly competitive for buyers.”

Source: Domain


House prices recorded the steepest gains ever with an increase by 8.6 per cent quarterly and 27.5 per cent annually, setting a record high of $731,547. Unit prices also reached a new high of $380,349.

Demand for Adelaide property remains strong as the number of homes sold reaches its highest point on record.

“Demand continues to outstrip supply with the overall supply of homes for sale dropping to a multi-year low and forcing house price growth,” Dr Powell said.

“Current demographic trends will continue to support housing demand with more people arriving into Greater Adelaide than leaving. South Australia has been one of the states to benefit from the flow of Australians that have sought to either escape lockdown, embrace remote work culture, or return to their home state.”


Perth continues to hold the title of the most affordable city to buy a house as prices swiftly rise across the other cities.

Perth house prices increased 1.8 per cent in the December quarter to $612,348, while unit prices climbed 2 per cent, reaching $380,353.

Despite the increase in house and unit prices, the pace of growth has slowed compared to that seen in late 2020 and early 2021.

“Extended state border closures continue to hamper housing demand, as new residents are disrupted from moving into the state,” Dr Powell said.

“Once borders reopen, this could provide another wave of new demand, freely allowing an easier relocation from overseas and interstate. Buyers are being supported by low interest rates, coupled with a decline in spending as border closures stall travel plans and have boosted savings.

“Perth remains a sellers’ market, this is helping to entice more homeowners, reacting to rising prices and putting their homes up for sale. While it is still a competitive market for home hunters, rising supply and easing demand trends should support more realistic seller prices and greater buyer choice.”


House prices in Hobart increased 8.7 per cent over the quarter, hitting a new record of $752,110. Surging by 44.9 per cent since the pandemic began, Hobart house prices boast the second-highest growth rate of all Australian cities.

“Hobart’s streak of record-breaking house prices hit a milestone over the last quarter by surpassing $700,000 for the first time,” Dr Powell said.

“With the lowest average wages of all the states we can expect that entry-level buyers who are on a local average wage will find it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market. Values have risen sharply across all house price points suggesting a broad spectrum of buyers are active.

“Home hunters will find buying conditions to be fierce as the number of homes for sale is well below the five-year average, and while stock is starting to build, it remains tight. Buyer demand is likely to be fuelled by the reopening of the Tasmanian state border to the mainland states, likely providing more buyers in Hobart as those interstate are able to relocate more freely.”


Canberra is now the second most expensive city to purchase a house with house prices hitting a new record of $1.178 million. This is the steepest quarterly growth on record and makes the past year the strongest upswing in Canberra’s house price history, up 36.6 per cent.

“Since the pandemic began, house prices have risen 52 per cent, the highest rate of growth recorded across the capital cities,” Dr Powell said.

“The rapid escalation in house prices will be a financial barrier for entry buyers and upgraders against a backdrop of low wages growth. The disparity between property performance and associated affordability constraints is expected to drive demand to units. While it is still a competitive market for home hunters, rising supply and easing demand trends should support more realistic seller prices and greater buyer choice.”


House prices were at $645,487, the highest point in six years, after rising 30.1 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, Darwin unit prices increased marginally, up 1.8 per cent in the December quarter, to a median of $326,159. Annually prices grew 11.1 per cent.

“Darwin house prices have seen a sharp upswing since the pandemic began, producing the strongest rate of annual growth in roughly 17 years and the highest median price in six years,” Dr Powell said.

“Demand for Darwin property still remains strong as the number of homes sold reached a thirteen year high over the December quarter. However, it appears the pace of price growth has peaked.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.