As 2021 rolled around, Australians were hoping for a better year after one plagued by the COVID-19 global pandemic. People were forced to stay at home for significant periods and, for some, this meant putting a dream move on hold.

Now, the country is learning to deal with COVID, and house sales are going through once again. What does this mean? Well, in January, prices reached new highs as people were desperate to finally move home. According to the House Price report from Domain, the average property price in Australia has reached just over $850,000. Compared to the same time the year before, this is an increase of nearly 6%.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, this showed a 4% increase in prices in just ONE quarter. Below, you’ll see a breakdown of house prices right across the eight capitals of Australia. How is your own area affected by the post-COVID recovery? Can you make your dream move work in 2021?

Bear in mind that the following statistics apply to December 2020 as we grow accustomed to the new year and a post-COVID environment.

Capital-to-Capital Review

For the longest time, Sydney has been the most expensive capital in the country, and COVID hasn’t changed this. After a near-7% increase in the past 12 months, the average house price in Sydney is now over $1.2 million.

How does this compare to the other capitals? Well, Melbourne sits in second place with an average of around $935,000. Interestingly, Melbourne experienced the second-lowest growth percentage of all capital cities (only Darwin saw a smaller increase from December 2019 to December 2020).

It’s no surprise to see Melbourne and Sydney at the top of this list, and Brisbane is the closest to these two major cities with an average house price of $616,000 Therefore, it’s fair to say that Sydney and Melbourne are dragging the national average upwards. The only other city above the national average is Canberra. However, according to multiple real estate agents, at $855,000, it’s only above the national average by less than $5,000.

Clearly, Canberra has attracted lots of interest and house prices grew by over 9% compared to the year before. Growth was only faster in one city: Hobart. After over 12% of growth, the average house price in this city is now $564,000.

After this, we’re left with Adelaide, Darwin, and Perth, and house prices are at a similar level across all of these cities:

  • Adelaide - $574,000
  • Perth - $563,000
  • Darwin - $533,000

Country Divide

As has been the case for many years, there’s a clear divide between the four most popular cities and the other four capital cities. For example, the average house price across Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Brisbane is just over $900,000. Meanwhile, the average house price across Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, and Hobart is under $560,000.

If you’re looking for a new home in 2021 and don’t mind moving cities, keep this divide in mind. The latter four cities are much more affordable than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra. However, this is to be expected with the earning opportunities and relative importance of these major cities.

In terms of the fastest-growing house prices, these are found in Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, and Perth. Meanwhile, house prices are rising slower than the national average of 5.8% in Darwin, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

With this, you should have a better idea of how house prices sit currently in Australia. Will this affect your move? It will be interesting to see how this evolves as the country settles into the new post-COVID environment.