Property prices are predicted to rise by 10% or more in most capital cities this year, as smaller cities outpace Sydney and Melbourne.

CoreLogic’s latest house price data shows that all cities except Melbourne, as well as most regional markets, recorded solid to strong growth in 2020. This momentum is expected to continue into the New Year. AMP chief economist Shane Oliver says the current growth trends will continue through the first half of 2021.

“I see gains in prices propelled by low interest rates, government incentives and easy lending standards,” Oliver says. “But that masks a huge divergence, with suburban houses doing better than units in inner-city areas, and lagging cities like Perth playing catch-up.” SQM Research expects house prices to rise the most in Perth (12%) and Adelaide (10%). Sydney could rise by 7% to 10%, Melbourne between 2% and 6%, and Brisbane 4% to 8%.

SQM managing director Louis Christopher says investors, who were largely absent in 2020, will be more evident this year.