The gap in prices between houses and units has never been greater in three of Australia's capital cities, while that gap is almost non-existent in a fourth capital.
According to a report by CoreLogic RP Data, Canberra had the largest gap between median unit and median house prices in December 2014, at 70.1 per cent.
The median unit price for Sydney was 71.7 per cent of its house price, while Melbourne was 74.2 per cent and Hobart was 77.1 per cent.
Brisbane’s median unit price was 79.3 per cent of its house price. While Adelaide and Perth were 79.6 per cent and 80.0 per cent respectively.
The median price of units and houses in Darwin was almost identical, at 94 per cent.
CoreLogic RP Data research director Tim Lawless said the percentage difference between house and unit prices has never been greater in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, while the differences in Brisbane and Perth were at near record highs.
“This certainly goes some way in explaining why we are seeing record-high dwelling commencements for units,” he said.
“Growing demand for unit stock, both from investors and owner-occupiers, and the sheer affordability difference between house and unit prices, at least partly explain this growing level of demand.”
Mr Lawless said the challenge will be to ensure that over-development doesn’t occur.
“Demand has increased for higher-density housing stock, but the level of apartment development currently taking place is unprecedented,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that units have typically been the domain of investors rather than owner-occupiers,” he added.