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Brisbane tops Melbourne as Australia's third-most-expensive property market

Brisbane property prices have skyrocketed 50 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

Sydney and Melbourne are often thought of as the most expensive cities in Australia to buy property, but that is no longer the case.

Brisbane has now leap-frogged Melbourne to become the third-most-expensive property market in the country, behind Sydney and Canberra.

The Sunshine State capital has boomed since the start of the pandemic, with new CoreLogic data finding property values have soared a staggering 50.2 per cent since March 2020.

Property in Brisbane, Queensland. First-home buyer grant concept.
Brisbane property is more expensive than Melbourne for the first time in 15 years. (Source: AAP)

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The median price of property in Greater Brisbane has now reached $787,000. This is the first time in 15 years that property prices are more expensive than Melbourne, which is currently sitting at an average of $780,457.

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So, why has Brisbane overtaken Melbourne? CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said one reason was the higher number of units making up the market in Melbourne, compared to Brisbane.

Despite higher dwelling prices, Brisbane house prices are still cheaper, on average, at $875,991, compared to Melbourne’s $948,041 - a $72,000 difference. Units are also cheaper in the Queensland capital, at $561,016, compared to $610,122 - a $49,000 difference.

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“CoreLogic estimates units comprise 33.8 per cent of Melbourne dwellings, compared to 25.6 per cent of homes across Brisbane,” Owen said.

“Because units are generally lower value than detached houses, a higher portion of units brings down the median dwelling across all houses and units.”

Brisbane’s pandemic boom of 50.2 per cent, compared to Melbourne’s milder upswing of 11 per cent, has also contributed to the city climbing the ranks.

The difference in growth may be partly due to the lifestyle factors on offer in Brisbane, Owen said, which became more appealing for many during the pandemic.

“The normalisation of remote work for many professionals made interstate migration to Queensland more feasible, while Melbourne’s extended lockdowns - from March 2020 through to October 2021 - may have prompted people to leave the city,” Owen said.

A record 51,500 people migrated interstate to Queensland in the year to March 2022, Australian Bureau of Statistics (RBA) data found. Over the same period, around 20,000 people left Victoria.

While Brisbane remains a “seller’s market”, Owen said its ranking may be tested in the coming months.

The pace of monthly growth in values has eased slightly and higher prices may dissuade interstate movers from making the jump. Recent flooding could also impact demand in the near term.

The Brisbane rental market also remains at record highs. New data from Domain found average house rents rose to $600 per week in the December quarter, while unit rents reached another record high of $560 per week.

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