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Gap between Units V Homes widen

Never has the gap between the cost of units and houses been so wide.

Last year’s extraordinary property boom saw prices rise almost everywhere in Australia and while units were not exempt from the rising market, it was the price of houses that really stole the show.

In the space of just 12 months, the median price for a house in Australia jumped by $214,250, soaring past $1 million.

Units also rose during that time but not by nearly as much: the median price rose by a comparatively modest $44,317 in the 12 months to December 2021.

It has become especially difficult in the capital cities, where the price gap between units and houses has completely blown out since the pandemic hit. The sudden rush of buyers to homes with more space saw demand for houses accelerate and prices skyrocket, while demand for units languished.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Sydney, where the price difference between the unit median and house median has leapt from $400,000 in December 2019 – before COVID – to $799,000 in December 2021.

The cost of a house is now double that of a unit. In some Sydney suburbs – Strathfield, Collaroy, Woolooware and Killara to name a few – the price gap between units and houses runs into the millions of dollars.

In Melbourne, a unit owner in Toorak would have to find an extra $4 million to upgrade from a unit to a house, in Brighton an extra $1.9 million and in Malvern an extra $2.1 million.

The median cost of a house in Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast is about $1.7 million more than the median price of a unit, while a house in New Farm, in Brisbane’s inner north, costs about $1.5 million more than a unit. Houses in Bulimba and Ashgrove are an $800,000 upgrade from a unit.

But there are always points of difference within a wider trend. An analysis of Domain data has found that across the country, there are suburbs and towns where the gap between units and houses sits at less than 10 per cent, and multiple examples of where the gap sits at around 20 per cent.


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