Australia's housing market was among the top performers globally in terms of price growth over the first six months of 2020, according to a study from Knight Frank.

Australia moved 37 places up the global rankings from last year, claiming the 19th spot in Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index over the second quarter of 2020.

House prices across Australian markets grew by 6.1% over the 12 months to the end of June. It is essential to note, however, that during the first six months of 2020, prices had fallen by 0.4%.

While the annual price growth in Australia had fallen slightly from the first quarter of the year, it was still higher than the average price gain of 4.7% across 56 other countries and territories tracked in the index over the quarter, said Michelle Ciesielski, head of residential research for Australia at Knight Frank.

"Australia has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic better than some other countries and territories around the world, with the length and severity of the lockdown not as strong, which partly explains its stable performance," she said.

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Ciesielski said the stable growth across Australia's housing markets could also be attributed to the conditions prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Heading into 2020, Australia was already experiencing high demand and low stock levels, she said. This has continued amid the pandemic, as home buyers remain interested in property while sellers take a wait-and-see approach.

In Sydney, for instance, the severe shortage of housing for sale by both auctions and private treaty is keeping prices stable, said Shayne Harris, national head of residential research at Knight Frank.

"Whilst in the past eight weeks the difficulties around obtaining finance have seen the number of registered bidders thin out at auction, the clearance rate remains stable as do prices across the inner and middle rings of metropolitan Sydney," he said.

Brisbane is also holding up well. Harris said the city appears to be recording a quicker-than-expected recovery, particularly due to its tight apartment supply line. With this, the city is poised to emerge in a "very good position" for 2021 and beyond, Harris said.

"Coming off an extended period of low price growth Brisbane's affordability is the best capital city side by side with Perth in the short to medium term," he said.

The table below shows the top 20 housing markets globally and their price performance over the second quarter of the year:

Australia improved its global ranking in terms of price gains during the second quarter of the year