New figures show the number of potential buyers looking at apartments has increased in the past year as buyers chase affordability.

Figures from realestate.com.au show a significant increase in searches for apartments in the year to June 2022. Brisbane recorded the biggest increase of 60%, followed by Melbourne 53% and then Sydney 48%.

PropTrack economist Paul Ryan says rising rents in the past two years may have pushed more people into buying property rather than renting and many of them could only afford to buy units.

“Now is the biggest divergence in prices between houses and apartments,” he says. “It’s not that houses are more expensive, it’s that apartments are cheap. PropTrack expects them to outperform over the next couple of years.”

Richard Temlett, associate director of property services firm Charter Keck Cramer, says it’s hard to determine when more apartments would be built because of the continuing uncertainty around shortages of materials and rising construction costs.