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Brisbane overtakes Canberra as property prices rise

Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide continue to lead home prices into record territory with national values up 0.8 per cent in May according to new data.


  • National Trend: Home prices across Australia rose by 0.8% in May, led by strong growth in Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide, according to CoreLogic. Proptrack’s data (national) showed a rise of 0.30 per cent to hit a new record in May. This brings prices up 2.73 per cent year to date.
  • City Highlights: Brisbane now ranks Australia’s second most expensive city, overtaking Canberra.
  • Key Drivers: Low supply levels are the main driver of price increases, with property listings significantly below the five-year average in major cities.
  • Market Insights: Despite challenges such as higher interest rates and economic pressures, strong demand driven by population growth and tight rental markets continue to push prices upward.
  • Future Outlook: Home prices are expected to continue rising, but the pace of growth might slow during the upcoming winter months.

According to CoreLogic, prices in the combined capital cities rose 0.8 per cent with Brisbane officially taking over from Canberra as Australia’s second-most expensive city.

The mid-sized capitals continued to lead the pace of growth, with Perth home values up 2 per cent in May, Adelaide rising 1.8 per cent and Brisbane up 1.4 per cent.

The remaining capital cities recorded milder conditions, ranging from a 0.6 per cent lift in Sydney values to a monthly decline of 0.5 per cent in Hobart and a 0.3 per cent fall in Darwin.

While regional markets also saw values increase 0.6 per cent in May.

CoreLogic research director, Tim Lawless, said extremely low levels of available supply across the strongest markets provide the best explanation for the difference in growth rates. 

“To say the housing market has been resilient is an understatement,” Mr Lawless said. 

“Housing values are continuing to rise across most areas and housing types, with growth accelerating in some markets.”

He said the number of properties available for sale in Perth and Adelaide remains more than 40 per cent below the five-year average for this time of the year while Brisbane listings are 34 per cent below average.

“Inventory levels in these markets remain well below average despite vendor activity lifting relative to this time last year. Fresh listings are being absorbed rapidly by market demand, keeping stock levels low and upwards pressure on prices,” he said.

Source: CoreLogic

Data from PropTrack also showed property prices hitting a new record high across the country in May.

PropTrack Senior Economist, Eleanor Creagh said with housing supply unable to meet demand, national home prices have cycled though 17 consecutive months of growth to hit a fresh peak in May. 

“Despite a rise in the number of homes for sale this year, strong population growth, tight rental markets, and home equity gains continue to bolster strong demand,” Ms Creagh said.

“Meanwhile, building activity remains challenged by capacity constraints and higher costs, with consequent tight housing supply pushing prices and rents higher. 

“This mismatch between supply and demand is continuing to offset the higher interest rate environment.” 

Mr Lawless said the upper quartile home values have generally shown the lowest rate of growth over the past year. 

“This trend is apparent across every capital city except Darwin, demonstrating stronger conditions across the more affordable price points of the market,” Mr Lawless said.

“After recording a higher rate of gain through the early months of the growth cycle, conditions have faded across the upper quartile as borrowing capacity reduced and affordability constraints deflected demand towards middle-and-lower-priced properties

Ms Creagh said the uplift in properties hitting the market this year in Sydney has been matched by robust demand fuelling further price increases. 

“However, growth momentum has slowed consistently since February as buyers benefit from more choice,” she said.

She said Melbourne’s recovery is lagging Sydney and Brisbane, where prices fully recovered from 2022’s falls last year. 

“Prices in Melbourne have regained just under half of their decline, up 2.42 per cent from their January 2023 low,” she said.

According to Ms Creagh, Brisbane is now the second-most expensive capital following a period of consistently strong growth. 

“Prices are now 18.15 per cent above their December 2022 low, putting values ahead of Melbourne and on par with Canberra,” she said.

“Brisbane remains one of the strongest performing markets over the past year with home prices now 13.69 per cent above May 2023 levels.”

She said the comparative affordability of Adelaide property has seen prices defy the significant increase in interest rates since May 2022. 

“Low stock levels are also intensifying competition, with home prices in Adelaide rising at a fast pace over the past year,” she said.

Ms Creagh said Perth has maintained its streak of relative outperformance and remains the strongest market in the country.

“Tight supply amid strong buyer demand has seen competitive conditions fuelling strong price growth,” she said.

“The relative affordability of the city’s homes, population growth, and very tight rental markets are also supporting home values.”

Ms Creagh said current interest rate stability has sustained buyer and seller confidence, while ongoing home price rises are likely incentivising many to overcome affordability challenges and transact with the expectation of further growth.

“Despite some easing in the rate of population growth and more stock on market, home prices are expected to lift further in the months ahead,” she said.

“Although, it is likely the pace of growth will continue slowing through the seasonally quieter winter period, particularly with interest rate cut expectations pushed out to late-2025.” 

Mr Lawless said the disconnect between supply and demand is trumping the downside pressures from interest rates, high inflation and low sentiment. 

“Eventually housing demand and supply will converge, driven by slowing population growth and, eventually, a ramp up in residential construction activity,” he said.

“In the meantime, we can probably expect further upwards pressure on housing values alongside a further erosion in housing affordability, even as interest rates stay ‘higher for longer’.”

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Rowan Crosby

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