House prices boomed in some very unexpected Australian cities in 2020

Australian house prices have surged in surprising cities despite the Covid recession, with families leaving pricey, overcrowded cities and opting for more rural delights.

Idyllic coastal towns with surf beaches were far from the only areas to see property values climb last year to new record highs as more people could work from home.

Darwin, in the tropical far north of Australia, saw property prices surge by 11.9 per cent in 2020, CoreLogic data showed.

Many have been able to leave expensive properties in major cities such as Sydney behind thanks to the ability to work remotely, prompted by the Covid pandemic's stay-at-home advice.

The marked change to working life has been reflected in the property market, as workers find more for their money elsewhere.

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The Northern Territory capital's median house price of $497,222 is now more than Perth's $490,810, following a two per cent increase in Western Australia, and marginally below Adelaide's $504,829, which itself enjoyed a 5.9 per cent rise.

Darwin property prices surging by 11.9 per cent in 2020, CoreLogic data showed, with families leaving overcrowded cities down south

Darwin property prices surging by 11.9 per cent in 2020, CoreLogic data showed, with families leaving overcrowded cities down south

Despite that impressive increase, Darwin's median house price is still below the 2014 peak. 

Canberra saw its equivalent property prices rise by 8.5 per cent, despite the cold winters and hot summers, putting its mid-point house price at $762,608.

Regions where prices hit a record high

Geelong: $606,403

Illawarra: $681,291

Newcastle and Lake Macquarie: $610,876

Ipswich: $363,213

Gold Coast: $587,156

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Sunshine Coast: $650,608

Richmond ‐ Tweed: $623,563

Launceston and North East: $363,723

Bendigo: $436,831

Source: CoreLogic, CommSec

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Regional areas were the stand-out performers last year, with prices rising by 6.9 per cent, more than triple the two per cent rise seen in combined capital city values.

Outside Australia's capitals, house prices last year climbed 7.1 per cent with apartment values up by 5.9 per cent.

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