Houses overall show better growth than units, but the margin is smaller than many might expect.

Analysis of 30 years of property prices puts houses in front – but not by much, with both houses and units increasing more than five-fold (on average).

The average result for capital cities is that median house prices rose 453% over the past three decades, according to analysis of Real Estate Institute of Australia data. Units rose 405% on average.

Sydney led the way in house price growth at 565%, from a median of $173,000 to $1.15 million between 1990 and 2020, while Melbourne took top honours in units with 448% growth, from a median of $113,500 to $622,500.

Brisbane’s median house price climbed from $106,000 to $539,000, up 408%, but its unit prices lagged with 328% growth. Adelaide is the only capital city where unit growth – up 404% to $410,500 – eclipsed house price growth of 371% (from $105,000 to $495,000).

Hobart’s surge in recent years helped made it the second-strongest market since 1990, with houses up 519% from $88,000 to $545,000.

REIA president Adrian Kelly says the data illustrates that real estate should always be seen as a long-term investment. “The Australian property market has a level of resilience not always seen by other investment classes such as shares,” he says. “The home not only provides somewhere for a family to live but is also a secure investment.”