House price growth increasingly higher than unit values

The differential between house and unit values is widening across Australia’s capital cities where houses are now recording greater value growth than units.

 Of the top five areas surveyed in each capital city, Peppermint Grove on the banks of the Swan River in Perth holds the greatest differential between capital city unit and house values; house values are 687% (or almost seven times) more expensive than unit values in the suburb.

Centennial Park in Sydney’s eastern suburbs followed and recorded a 523% differential then came the upmarket suburb of Toorak in Melbourne’s inner city at 283%.

Adelaide was a surprise addition with Toorak Gardens recording a differential of 280%, while Ascot in Brisbane recorded 236%. Forrest in Canberra recorded 242%. Lagging behind was Darwin and Hobart with their respective widest differentials of 156% and 105%.

The data shows that at the end of the first quarter of 2014, combined capital city house values were 28% higher than those for combined capital city unit values while for the past 12 months, house values increased by 10.7% compared to a 9.4% rise in unit values. The faster rate of value growth for houses is likely to result in a growing differential between house and unit values.

Across the individual capital cities, house values are higher than unit values in each city with the differentials recorded at: Sydney (40%), Melbourne (40%), Brisbane (27%), Adelaide (31%), Perth (23%), Hobart (12%), Darwin (34%) and Canberra (46%). In most capitals we are seeing this differential widening.

I’m not surprised at the results given the widening gap between houses and units. It’s no real surprise we are seeing a rapid shift to greater development of units as opposed to houses.

More units have been approved for construction than houses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and Canberra. However, it’s important to remember that more houses sell each year than the more affordable alternative which is units. As values rise, the challenge for some buyers is that they become priced out of the detached house market and will then need to divert the attention to more affordable alternatives found in the unit market. Today’s adjacent table listing the Top 5 suburbs highlights this fact well.

House price growth increasingly higher than unit values

While many people aspire to living in desirable inner city areas, the reality is that there is a short supply of detached houses in these areas coupled with plenty of demand. As a result many will never be able to meet these aspirations. The alternative is to look to the unit market where the cost is still going to be comparatively high but is generally significantly lower than that of a detached house.

Units in these suburbs are often older style units which don’t come with modern architecture. Most of these suburbs are long established suburbs and have a fairly limited supply of units, most of which were built many years ago.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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