Housing market profile: what kinds of homes are people buying right now?

Collage of house roofs.

The Australian property market has led a remarkable recovery. After rising interest rates on home loans smothered growth last year, Domain now estimates home values will regain much of their former glory by 2024. 

Driving the resurgence is a post-pandemic population boom, particularly in Victoria, whose capital city has just eclipsed Sydney as Australia’s largest city.

Domain estimates Sydney will lead the recovery, with house prices projected to rise up to 9%. Combined capitals are expected to lift up to 4% for houses and 3% for units – though curiously, unit values are expected to drop in Greater Melbourne and Canberra.

“Following a financial year of elections, interest rate rises, and initial signs of a recovery, we know people are closely watching what’s to come for the housing market,” says Domain chief of research and economics, Dr. Nicola Powell.

“While prices are expected to rise, affordability will contain the pace of growth, as the likes of rapidly rising interest rates and ongoing mortgage serviceability challenges continue to play out in a complex and dynamic market.” 

So what types of properties have found buyers, despite the high cost of housing finance?

What property is for sale in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane?

Three vertical photos of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane CBDs at sunset.

In exclusive data provided by Domain, Mozo has obtained unique insight into what kinds of properties have sold in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in the year to March 2023. 

Let’s break it down.


Units immensely popular sales in Greater Sydney

Units made up the bulk of sales volumes in Greater Sydney. Suburbs that moved the most stock tended to cluster around Sydney’s west, although the Northern Beaches and eastern suburbs saw heated demand. 

Houses only outpaced units in Castle Hill and Blacktown – the latter of which experienced resilient capital growth during the 2022 downturn.

Despite the large volume of units hitting the market, most recorded a fall in values over the last year, with the Northern Beaches impacted the most (-10.8%). This coincided with the staunch rise in mortgage rates that spurred the national downturn. Units just may have proved the most affordable option for home buyers desperate to get out of the rental market. 


Houses remain the main investment in Melbourne

Melbourne property has exploded thanks to a massive influx of new migration. Suburbs with the highest sales volumes in the year to March 2023 mostly moved houses, according to Domain. This coincided with a significant price explosion in the popular outer suburbs, especially Pakenham (+4.2%) and Tarneit (+5.7%). 

It makes sense that houses would be the hot item on the market. Great Southern Bank recently found that Victorians are more optimistic about saving for a house deposit in five years than New South Welshmen and Queenslanders.

Inner urban suburbs saw greater volumes of units sell successfully, although the median value of these units fell over the last five years. A lower median value price could indicate the area trended down as a whole, making it a premium opportunity for first home buyers


Units more popular in the Gold Coast and Brisbane North, but houses still dominate Greater Brisbane and Townsville

Greater Brisbane suburbs with the highest sales volumes show a surprisingly even mixture between houses and units. Surfers Paradise in particular had a massive boom in unit sales, clocking in at 2,013 sold in the year to March 2023. 

Brisbane West had a healthy jump in values despite the national cooldown, with Domain reporting a 21.7% annual price boost. Bayside North (+17.2%) and Gold Coast North (+14.9%) houses were similarly impressive.

Curiously, Brisbane North units in the middle of the city showed a -1.0% fall in median value despite the large crop up for sale. Property markets always balance supply and demand: too much supply thins out demand, thus lowering the price as a whole. 

Yet a fall of 100 basis points is nowhere near the plummet of the national average, which CoreLogic estimated as -5.3% over 2022. Withstanding strong headwinds, Greater Brisbane remains a promising capital to watch for property investors

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Compare home loans - last updated 24 February 2024

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* 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. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. 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.

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