The price difference varied again when comparing houses and apartments.

Home buyers in almost all capital cities would pay more for a two-bedroom house than a two-bedroom unit.

Sydney had the biggest difference of $180,000 between the median two-bedroom house and the median two-bedroom unit.

Melbourne buyers would pay a $145,000 premium for a two-bedroom house over a two-bedroom unit.

Perth buyers would pay $85,000 more for a two-bedroom house than a two-bedroom unit, but Brisbane bucked the trend and a two-bedroom house was $21,000 cheaper.

When it came to three bedrooms, larger units in the two major capitals commanded a higher price than similar-sized houses. This was thanks to stiff competition from cashed-up downsizers and priced-out house buyers, who were chasing a limited supply of large apartments, experts said.

Sydney buyers would pay $165,000 more if they bought the median three-bedroom unit instead of a three-bedroom house, while Melbourne buyers would pay $40,000 more for a three-bedroom unit.

Cooleys auctioneer Michael Garofolo said home buyers are paying a premium for four-bedroom homes because it came with more bathrooms, car spaces and extra living space.

“Anything with four bedrooms it’s generally followed by two bathrooms and two garages. You’re almost guaranteed an extra car space and extra bathroom,” Garofolo said.

“We’re definitely seeing people compromise, when 12 months ago, you could service a multi-million dollar debt, people may now say ‘We don’t need the fourth bedroom, wine cellar and the theatre’. Some of these homes in the Hills [district] have pool cabanas.”

The premium on two-bedroom houses in almost all capitals was due to their land value and potential to capitalise on the property, while the premium on three-bedroom units was due to high demand from cashed-up downsizers and priced-out house buyers, said Mike McCarthy, director of Barry Plant.


“When you make the leap to a two-bedroom house, you’re going to be talking about a freestanding property on more land than a two-bedroom unit,” McCarthy said.

“You’re paying for more land, it’s the underlying value. Then secondly, in a lot of cases, you’re paying for the potential of what you could do with it too. A lot of those two-bedroom houses would be ripe for extension.

“Invariably as buyer’s borrowing capacity has been reduced with interest rate hikes, the reality is people are having to work off amended budgets, and they have to look at slightly different configurations.”