How have Aussie apartments fared in 2021 compared to houses?

Apartment building.

The Australian property market has shattered all expectations this year, with dwelling prices rising 22.2 per cent over the past 12 months and adding an extra $126,700 to the median value of an Australian home.

But dwelling prices combine both houses and units, and while units certainly haven’t underperformed, they have been overshadowed by the meteoric rise in house prices.

At the moment, the gap between the two is the widest it’s ever been. According to property research firm CoreLogic, the median capital city house price is now 37.9 per cent higher than median capital city unit price.

To put a dollar figure on that, a capital city house now costs around $240,500 more on average than a capital city unit. This is even more pronounced in Sydney, where a house is now $523,000 more expensive on average than a unit.

While the pace of growth in the harbour city has slowed in recent months as more stock goes to market, Sydney house prices will end the year up by more than 30 per cent — double the growth in unit prices.

House prices also outpaced units in Melbourne, but prolonged lockdowns over the year managed to keep both relatively subdued. It was in Brisbane and Adelaide, however, where the divide between house and unit markets was greatest.

In the 12 months to November 2021, house prices in Brisbane rose by nearly 30 per cent, compared to 11 per cent growth in apartments. And in Adelaide house prices jumped 24 per cent — three and a half times more than units. 

Annual change in capital city houses and apartments

CityHouses (% change year on year)Units (% change year on year)
Sydney+30.42+15.18
Melbourne+19.48+9.00
Brisbane+27.93+11.40
Adelaide+23.89+6.82
Perth+14.75+12.35
Darwin+14.76+20.10
Canberra+27.22+14.68
Hobart+26.56+32.10

CoreLogic research director, Tim Lawless said runaway house prices are currently testing buyers’ limits, and many are already turning to the apartment market for more affordable options.

“With such a large value gap between the broad housing types, it’s no wonder we are seeing demand gradually transition towards higher density housing options simply because they are substantially more affordable than buying a house,” he said.

Darwin and Hobart stand out as the only two capital cities where annual growth in apartments surpassed that of houses. 

CoreLogic head of residential research, Eliza Owen said high demand for units in Hobart comes down to high investor activity, along with a “mature aged demographic looking for downsizer or lower maintenance options.”

“CoreLogic estimates the vast majority of Hobart units are owned by investors, and units may be in high demand as the short term rental accommodation markets hold strong amid an uplift in domestic tourism.”

For more information on property and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo - last updated 25 January 2022

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Smart Booster Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a. variable
    2.21% p.a.

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    UHomeLoan - Discount Offer
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.99% p.a. variable
    1.99% p.a.

    Enjoy a super low rate. $0 fees to consider. Fast and easy online application. Free redraw and free extra repayments. Flexible payment terms. Min 20% deposit required.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Celebrate Variable Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.89% p.a. variable
    1.89% p.a.

    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Details
  • Variable Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.99% p.a. variable
    1.99% p.a.

    Same low variable rate for all. No upfront or ongoing fees. Approval in minutes not weeks with a fast digital application. 100% offset sub account with no account or redraw fees. Comes with a Visa debit card, mobile App, and digital wallet (Apple and Google Pay). Refinance only. 25% deposit or equity required.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Variable Home Loan Special
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.99% p.a. variable
    2.02% p.a.

    Yard’s low-rate variable special home loan is packed with all features – unlimited additional repayments, free redraw, 100% offset account. Enjoy a simple online application. Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31st January 2022. Low Cost Home Loan winner in the Mozo's Experts Choice award 2021.

    Details

* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate, loan amount and term entered. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.