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Australian property market shake-up: Units outpace houses in price hikes as rents soar in capital cities


Recent data released by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) reveals a striking trend in the Australian property market: units are leading the way with price increases that have outperformed houses, while rental costs continue to swell in many capital cities.

Ms Leanne Pilkington, President of REIA, articulated the mixed outcomes highlighted in the September quarter of 2023. She explained, “The weighted average capital city median price increased by 1.1% for houses and 1.5% for other dwellings.” These figures contribute to the growing narrative that suggests a shift in the housing preferences and investing strategies of Australians.

With an eye on the growth patterns across different regions, Ms Pilkington noted, “The median house price increased in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, but decreased in Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart.” Particularly notable is Sydney’s median house price, which at $1,578,099 stands 59.3% above the national median and solidifies its status as the priciest capital for homeowners.

The apartment market also witnessed significant changes. Ms Pilkington stated, “The weighted average median price for other dwellings for the eight capital cities increased to $647,352, a quarterly increase of 1.5%.” Sydney yet again topped the charts with the highest median price for units, whereas Darwin offered the most affordable options.

Over a 12-month period leading to the September quarter, house prices in capital cities saw an overall hike of 3.2%, whereas unit prices climbed by 2.2%.

In the rental landscape, the figures were equally telling. Ms Pilkington highlighted the increase in median rent for three-bedroom houses, which saw a rise to $571 per week. Yet, it was the 4.6% quarterly increase in Sydney that captured attention.

Two-bedroom units were not far behind, with median rent reaching $581 per week, reflecting a 3.1% increase over the quarter. Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, and Darwin all recorded upticks in rent, showcasing a broader trend of rental inflation underpinning the Australian capital cities.


The data from REIA paints a comprehensive picture of a real estate market in flux, with upward trends in both property prices and rents commanding attention from buyers, sellers, and renters alike. This ongoing evolution of the market serves as a crucial barometer for those looking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of Australian real estate.

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