Here’s why Melbourne and Sydney have decoupled from the rest of Australia’s property markets


Have you wondered why the Melbourne and Sydney property markets have outperformed the rest of Australia?

Well according to Dr. Phillip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia their high property prices is partly explained by the fact that they have become “superstar cities.” Sydney Property

“Low interest rates have added to that, but basically people are prepared to pay a lot more to live in certain cities and we don’t fully understand why that is, but it’s a common thing across the board.” said Dr. Lowe

“In Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, house price to income ratios have not really moved anywhere for a decade and a half in trend terms.”

The graph below from ANZ Bank shows how the Melbourne and Sydney property markets have decoupled from the rest of Australia over the last 20 years.


Source: ABC, CoreLogic RP Data, ANZ Research

Apparently we’re in good company with other super star cities being San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam and Auckland.

Why just these two Cities? 

Considering all of Australia shares the same low interest rates which are often touted as one of the main reasons for high property prices, why the disparity in property price growth amongst our capital cities.

As always local factors such as economic growth, population growth and wages growth come into play.



Source: ABS

  • Employment in our 2 super star cities is booming.
    The latest Census data showed that almost half of the jobs created in Australia over the last decade were in our 2 big capitals.

Total employment (Place of Work)


Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing (2006, 2011 & 2016) and SGS Economics and Planning

  • Not only do these two cities provide the more job opportunities, but a large proportion of the higher income earners reside in these cities, where many of our largest companies have their head offices.
  • The majority of the foreign investors prefer to buy in Sydney and Melbourne, with many sending their children to study in these cities.
  • Sydney and Melbourne account for over 70% of overseas migration into Australia.
    In 2016-17 NSW accounted for 40% of all net migration — 98,570 people and while Victoria’s had a few less immigrants (86,900) when you add to this the 17,182 net interstate migrants you can see why Melbourne is called a super star city.

What’s ahead?

The 2 big long-term drivers of property price growth are: Melbourne Property Value

1. Household formation — in other words the demand for more dwellings. But this alone isn’t enough. It must be accompanied by…

2. Increasing wealth— the ability to pay more for property.

In other words, demographics will remain one of the biggest drivers of our property markets in the future.

To put it differently — how many of us there are, how much we earn, how we want to live, where we live and what we can afford will move our markets

Sure property values will continue to rise around Australia and particularly in our capital cities.

But it is likely that as more people choose to live close to high paying employment opportunities, which will in general be in the service sector, demand for housing in inner and middle ring suburbs of our big capital cities will increase, placing pressure on property prices in these locations.

And this will continue to be so particularly for Melbourne and Sydney our two super star cities.


As signs point to softer growth conditions for Australian property over the coming months, independent professional advice and careful consideration will be as important as ever in navigating Australia’s varied market conditions. 

If you’re looking for independent advice, no one can help you quite like the independent property investment strategists at Metropole.

Remember the multi award winning team of property investment strategists at Metropole have no properties to sell, so their advice is unbiased.Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned property investor, we would love to help you formulate an investment strategy or do a review of your existing portfolio, and help you take your property investment to the next level.

Please click here to organise a time for a chat. Or call us on 1300 20 30 30.

When you attend our offices in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane you will receive a free copy of my latest 2 x DVD program Building Wealth through Property Investment in the new Economy valued at $49.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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