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Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities

Estimates of changes in residential property prices and the total value of Australia's dwelling stock, and preliminary housing market activity data

Reference period
December 2020
Released
16/03/2021

Key statistics

Weighted average of the eight capital cities Residential Property Price Index:

  • rose 3.0% this quarter.
  • rose 3.6% over the last twelve months.

The total value of residential dwellings in Australia rose $257.9b to $7,724.4b this quarter.

December key statistics

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Residential property pricesSep Qtr 20 to Dec Qtr 20Dec Qtr 19 to Dec Qtr 20
% change% change
Weighted average of eight capital cities3.03.6
Sydney3.03.7
Melbourne3.42.9
Brisbane2.74.0
Adelaide2.63.8
Perth2.94.2
Hobart3.16.4
Darwin2.22.3
Canberra3.45.2

 

 

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Total value of the dwelling stockDec Qtr 20
Value of dwelling stock(a) ($b)

7 724.4

Mean price of residential dwellings ($'000)

728.5

Number of residential dwellings ('000)

10 602.7

a. all sectors

 

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December key points

The Residential Property Price Indexes

Weighted average of the eight capital cities

  • rose 3.0% this quarter.
  • rose 3.6% over the last twelve months.

Capital city Residential Property Price Indexes

  • rose in Sydney (+3.0%), Melbourne (+3.4%), Brisbane (+2.7%), Perth (+2.9%), Adelaide (+2.6%), Canberra (+3.4%), Hobart (+3.1%), and Darwin (+2.2%), this quarter. 
  • rose in Hobart (+6.4%), Canberra (+5.2%), Perth (+4.2%), Brisbane (+4.0%), Adelaide (+3.8%), Sydney (+3.7%), Melbourne (+2.9%), and Darwin (+2.3%), over the last twelve months. 

Total value of the dwelling stock

  • the total value of residential dwellings in Australia rose $257.9b to $7,724.4b this quarter.
  • the mean price of residential dwellings rose $21,300 to $728,500. 
  • the number of residential dwellings rose by 44,100 to 10,602,700.

 

Notes

Revisions

Revisions apply to estimates for the second and third most recent quarters of the total value of dwelling stock (see Revisions, under Total value of dwelling stock, in the Explanatory notes) and to median prices and transfers (see Revisions, under Dwelling transfer counts and median prices, in the Methodology page).

Use of price indexes in contracts

Price indexes published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provide summary measures of the movements in various categories of prices over time. They are published primarily for use in Government economic analysis. Price indexes are also often used in contracts by businesses and government to adjust payments and/or charges to take account of changes in categories of prices (Indexation Clauses).

Use of Price Indexes in Contracts sets out a range of issues that should be taken into account by parties considering including an Indexation Clause in a contract using an ABS published price index.

Analysis

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Residential Property Price Indexes
 RPPI (a)HPIADPI
Sep Qtr 20 to Dec Qtr 20Sep Qtr 20 to Dec Qtr 20Sep Qtr 20 to Dec Qtr 20
% change% change% change
Weighted average of eight capital cities3.03.51.8
Sydney3.03.91.4
Melbourne3.43.72.5
Brisbane2.72.91.6
Adelaide2.62.62.2
Perth2.93.02.2
Hobart3.13.23.1
Darwin2.22.41.8
Canberra3.43.53.1

a. See reference to rounding in Methodology page.

 

The discussion of individual cities is ordered in terms of their significance to the change in the Residential Property Price Index for the latest quarter. The Residential Property Price Index comprises the House Price Index and the Attached Dwellings Price Index.

Weighted average of the eight capital cities (+3.0%)

Residential Property Price Index

  • rose 3.0% this quarter, following a rise of 0.8% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 3.6% over the last twelve months.

House Price Index

  • rose 3.5% this quarter, following a rise of 1.0% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 4.3% over the last twelve months.

Attached Dwellings Price Index

  • rose 1.8% this quarter, following a rise of 0.3% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 1.6% over the last twelve months.

Sydney (+3.0%)

Residential Property Price Index

  • rose 3.0% this quarter, following a rise of 1.0% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 3.7% over the last twelve months.
  • substantial rises in sales transaction numbers were observed for both houses and attached dwellings in the December quarter 2020; sales transactions throughout 2020 also rose strongly compared to 2019.

House Price Index

  • rose 3.9% this quarter.
  • this is the largest rise since the December quarter 2019, and follows a rise of 1.4% in the September quarter 2020.
  • price rises were observed across all segments of the market.
  • rose 5.3% over the last twelve months. 

Attached Dwellings Price Index

  • rose 1.4% this quarter.
  • this is the largest rise since the December quarter 2019, and follows a rise of 0.2% in the September quarter 2020.
  • price rises were driven by the middle to upper ($730,000 and above) segments of the market.
  • rose 1.0% over the last twelve months.

Melbourne (+3.4%)

Residential Property Price Index

  • rose 3.4% this quarter, following a fall of 0.3% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 2.9% over the last twelve months.
  • substantial rises in sales transaction numbers were observed for both houses and attached dwellings in the December quarter 2020; despite the quarterly rise, sales transactions throughout 2020 fell compared to 2019 due to the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on the Melbourne property market.

House Price Index

  • rose 3.7% this quarter, following a fall of 0.3% in the September quarter 2020. 
  • price rises were observed across all segments of the market. 
  • rose 2.8% over the last twelve months.

Attached Dwellings Price Index

  • rose 2.5% this quarter, following a fall of 0.2% in the September quarter 2020.
  • price rises were observed across all segments of the market, with price growth most evident in the middle to upper ($575,000 and above) segments of the market.
  • rose 2.9% over the last twelve months.

Brisbane (+2.7%)

Residential Property Price Index

  • rose 2.7% this quarter, following a rise of 1.5% in the September quarter 2020.
  • rose 4.0% over the last twelve months.

House Price Index

  • rose 2.9% this quarter.
  • rose 4.7% over the last twelve months.

Attached Dwellings Price Index

  • rose 1.6% this quarter.
  • rose 1.0% over the last twelve months.

Perth (+2.9%)

Residential Property Price Index

  • rose 2.9% this quarter, following a rise of 1.4% in the September quarter 2020. 
  • rose 4.2% over the last twelve months.

House Price Index

  • rose 3.0% this quarter.
  • rose 5.0% over the last twelve months.

Attached Dwellings Price Index

  • rose 2.2% this quarter. 
  • rose 0.9% over the last twelve months.

Adelaide (+2.6%)

    Residential Property Price Index

    • rose 2.6% this quarter, following a rise of 1.6% in the September quarter 2020. 
    • rose 3.8% over the last twelve months.

    House Price Index

    • rose 2.6% this quarter. 
    • rose 3.9% over the last twelve months.

    Attached Dwellings Price Index

    • rose 2.2% this quarter.  
    • rose 3.3% over the last twelve months.

    Canberra (+3.4%)

        Residential Property Price Index

        • rose 3.4% this quarter, following a rise of 0.9% in the September quarter 2020.
        • rose 5.2% over the last twelve months.

        House Price Index

        • rose 3.5% this quarter. 
        • rose 6.3% over the last twelve months.

        Attached Dwellings Price Index

        • rose 3.1% this quarter.  
        • rose 2.1% over the last twelve months.

        Hobart (+3.1%)

        Residential Property Price Index

        • rose 3.1% this quarter, following a rise of 1.2% in the September quarter 2020.
        • rose 6.4% over the last twelve months.

        House Price Index

        • rose 3.2% this quarter. 
        • rose 6.6% over the last twelve months.

        Attached Dwellings Price Index

        • rose 3.1 % this quarter.  
        • rose 6.0% over the last twelve months.

        Darwin (+2.2%)

          Residential Property Price Index

          • rose 2.2% this quarter, following a rise of 0.8% in the September quarter 2020.
          • rose 2.3% over the last twelve months.

          House Price Index

          • rose 2.4% this quarter. 
          • rose 2.7% over the last twelve months.

          Attached Dwellings Price Index

          • rose 1.8% this quarter.
          • rose 1.1% over the last twelve months.

               

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          • The preliminary estimate of the total value of residential dwellings in Australia this quarter was $7,724.4 billion, up from $7,466.5 billion in the September quarter 2020. This is the strongest rise since the December quarter 2016. Of the total value of residential dwellings, $7,375.7 billion was owned by households.
          • The number of residential dwellings rose by 44,100 to 10,602,700, and the mean price of residential dwellings rose $21,300 to $728,500 this quarter. 
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          • The mean price of residential dwellings in New South Wales ($939,700) remains the highest in the country, followed by Victoria ($785,000) and then the Australian Capital Territory ($757,000). The lowest mean price is in the Northern Territory ($429,400).

          Spotlight - Residential property sales activity

          The ABS publishes the median price and the number of residential property transfers for each capital city and the rest of state in Tables 4 and 5 of this publication each quarter. The number of property transfers provides an indication of the level of sales activity for each quarter.  

          Table 1 presents the residential property transfer counts for the calendar years 2015 to 2020, and Table 2 presents the year-on-year movements in percentage terms. The transfer counts relate to the capital city and rest of state region of each state and territory. [1]

          During 2020, the number of residential property transfers increased 7.2% nationally. Transfer counts increased 2.1% for the combined capital cities and 16.4% for the regions outside the capital cities.

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          Table 1. Residential property transfer counts, calendar years 2015-2020 (a)
          Geography201520162017201820192020
          Sydney1109979096490607729048026890062
          Rest of state601405976261390548215281264343
          NSW Total171137150726151997127725133080154405
          Melbourne11198696700101976878668711869998
          Rest of state262632659229836309912810828558
          VIC Total13824912329213181211885711522698556
          Brisbane595425204747349436404191646399
          Rest of state584645489853269507225026959539
          QLD Total1180061069451006189436292185105938
          Adelaide247502384424304233532320824913
          Rest of state627959876194627162757642
          SA Total310292983130498296242948332555
          Perth333003082332086311003121937632
          Rest of state651367747206737374799971
          WA Total398133759739292384733869847603
          Hobart496150815577518948214301
          Rest of state663768137968803273147245
          TAS Total115981189413545132211213511546
          Darwin226619101667155115141626
          Rest of state487513535495473524
          NT Total275324232202204619872150
          Canberra862985598446783879819009
          Total - Capital Cities356431309928312012273441278045283940
          Total - Rest of State164783161339166398158705152730177822
          AUS Total521214471267478410432146430775461762

          (a) Data for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are preliminary and subject to revision.  Please see Technical note below. 

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          Table 2. Residential property transfer counts, annual percentage change (a)
          Geography20162017201820192020
          Sydney-18.0%-0.4%-19.5%10.1%12.2%
          Rest of state-0.6%2.7%-10.7%-3.7%21.8%
          NSW Total-11.9%0.8%-16.0%4.2%16.0%
          Melbourne-13.6%5.5%-13.8%-0.9%-19.7%
          Rest of state1.3%12.2%3.9%-9.3%1.6%
          VIC Total-10.8%6.9%-9.8%-3.1%-14.5%
          Brisbane-12.6%-9.0%-7.8%-4.0%10.7%
          Rest of state-6.1%-3.0%-4.8%-0.9%18.4%
          QLD Total-9.4%-5.9%-6.2%-2.3%14.9%
          Adelaide-3.7%1.9%-3.9%-0.6%7.3%
          Rest of state-4.7%3.5%1.2%0.1%21.8%
          SA Total-3.9%2.2%-2.9%-0.5%10.4%
          Perth-7.4%4.1%-3.1%0.4%20.5%
          Rest of state4.0%6.4%2.3%1.4%33.3%
          WA Total-5.6%4.5%-2.1%0.6%23.0%
          Hobart2.4%9.8%-7.0%-7.1%-10.8%
          Rest of state2.7%17.0%0.8%-8.9%-0.9%
          TAS Total2.6%13.9%-2.4%-8.2%-4.9%
          Darwin-15.7%-12.7%-7.0%-2.4%7.4%
          Rest of state5.3%4.3%-7.5%-4.4%10.8%
          NT Total-12.0%-9.1%-7.1%-2.9%8.2%
          Canberra-0.8%-1.3%-7.2%1.8%12.9%
          Total - Capital Cities-13.0%0.7%-12.4%1.7%2.1%
          Total - Rest of State-2.1%3.1%-4.6%-3.8%16.4%
          AUS Total-9.6%1.5%-9.7%-0.3%7.2%

          (a) Data for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are preliminary and subject to revision.  Please see Technical note below. 

           

          Residential property transfer counts increased in all capital cities apart from Melbourne and Hobart during 2020. The strongest increases were observed in Perth (+20.5%), Canberra (+12.9%), Sydney (+12.2%), and Brisbane (+10.7%). 

          The results for Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane reflect strong demand for residential property driven by record low interest rates and supported by a range of government incentives. The increase in sales activity for these cities is consistent with continued improvement in a range of housing market indicators in the second half of 2020. These include new lending commitments to households, auction clearance rates, and days on market.

          The fall in transfer counts in Melbourne reflects the effects of COVID-19 restrictions and extended lockdowns on the Melbourne property market, especially in the September quarter. Property transfers in Hobart fell sharply in the June quarter 2020 and are yet to fully recover.

          For the rest of state regions, residential property transfer counts increased in all regional areas apart from Tasmania during 2020. The strongest increases were observed in WA (+33.3%), NSW (+21.8%), SA (+21.8%), and Qld (+18.4%). The results indicate that residential property sales activity has been strong across most regional areas during 2020.

          Graph 1 shows transfer counts at the Australian total level for calendar years 2015 to 2020, and the contribution of capital city and rest of state regions.

           

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          Technical note

          Residential property transfer numbers for recent periods are subject to revision. As the ABS receives more unit record residential property sales data for each quarter, the numbers of dwelling transfers are revised upwards as necessary. These revisions can be substantial, especially in the quarter immediately following first release. Revisions can be made to the most recent ten quarters of published figures.

          Over the last six calendar years (2015-2020), the average revision to transfer counts after twelve months has been around 6% for the combined capital cities and around 4% for the total rest of state region.

          The data for 2018, 2019 and 2020 as presented in Table 1 are preliminary and subject to revision. Despite this, and considering the positive nature of revisions to property transfer numbers in subsequent quarters, results to date indicate that residential property sales activity increased in most capital cities during 2020.

          [1] Capital cities are defined as Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, as described in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, Vol 1. These areas capture the socio-economic extent of the state/territory capital cities for statistical purposes. 

          Data downloads

          Table 1. Residential property price index, index numbers and percentage changes

          Table 2. Established house price index, index numbers and percentage changes

          Table 3. Attached dwellings price index, index numbers and percentage changes

          Tables 4 and 5. Median price (unstratified) and number of transfers (capital city and rest of state)

          Table 6. Value of residential dwellings, all series

          Table 7. All index numbers

          Table 8. Established house price index, index numbers, pre-September quarter 2005 methodology

          Previous catalogue number

          This release previously used catalogue number 6416.0