Ever since I began working in the property sector, people have mentioned the adage that property prices double every seven to ten years. Despite the strong price growth through the pandemic, this hasn’t been the case lately.
In May 2023, the median house price nationally was $730,000 and the median unit price was $560,000. Median house prices had taken 15.4 years (185 months) to double while median unit prices had taken 17.8 years (213 months) to double in price.
Median house prices across the capital cities doubled quicker (14.3 years) than they did across regional markets (16 years). For units it was a different story with regional prices doubling quicker (17.5 years) than those in capital cities (18.1 years).
|PropTrack Time for median prices to double, May 2023: Houses|
|Region||Current median||Previous median||Months to double||Years to double|
|Australian Capital Territory||$950,000||$475,000||157||13.1|
|Rest of NSW||$720,000||$360,000||113||9.4|
|Rest of Vic.||$587,000||$291,500||115||9.6|
|Rest of Qld||$550,000||$275,000||213||17.8|
|Rest of SA||$350,000||$175,000||206||17.2|
|Rest of WA||$435,000||$215,000||210||17.5|
|Rest of Tas.||$530,000||$265,000||70||5.8|
|Rest of NT||$475,000||$235,000||195||16.3|
The only markets in which median house prices doubled in less than a decade were regional Tasmania (5.8 years), Hobart (6.8 years), regional NSW (9.4 years), regional Victoria (9.6 years) and Sydney (9.6 years).
Median house prices have taken longest to double in Perth (17.8 years), regional Queensland (17.8 years) and regional WA (17.5 years).
Hobart was the only market in which unit prices doubled in less than a decade, taking 7.8 years, while prices doubled relatively quickly in regional NSW (13.1 years) and regional Vic (13.8 years).
Median unit prices have taken longest to double in Perth (19.2 years), Brisbane (18.9 years) and Canberra (18.9 years).
|PropTrack Time for median prices to double, May 2023: Units|
|Region||Current Median||Previous median||Months to double||Years to double|
|Australian Capital Territory||$585,000||$290,000||227||18.9|
|Rest of NSW||$580,000||$290,000||157||13.1|
|Rest of VIC.||$412,500||$206,000||165||13.8|
|Rest of Qld||$530,000||$265,000||219||18.3|
|Rest of SA||$300,000||$150,000||215||17.9|
|Rest of WA||$319,000||$158,000||223||18.6|
|Rest of Tas.||$400,000||$200,000||174||14.5|
|Rest of NT||$353,000||$175,000||213||17.8|
It’s also interesting to note that median house prices in some of the more expensive cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra have doubled more quickly than those in cities with cheaper median prices such as Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.
Across every capital city and regional area, median house prices have doubled over a shorter period of time than median unit prices have. This highlights that houses tend to appreciate in price quicker than units.
The lower price point and slower growth also highlights that housing more of Australia in units is a good way to address our housing affordability challenges.
Prices have generally taken longer than a decade to double in price, despite very strong price rises across most of the country through the pandemic and that is a trend we expect to continue over the coming years.
The key drivers of strong price growth over recent decades were primarily falling interest rates which increase borrowing capacity, increasing household incomes as more women joined the workforce, easier and greater access to finance, and migration creating strong demand for housing.
While there is little sign of strong migration of the past decade abating, interest rates are unlikely to fall like they have over recent decades, employment participation is unlikely to increase as much and accessing a mortgage is more difficult than it has been in the past.
It looks like the days of property prices doubling every seven to ten years may be well and truly in the past.