Canberra outperformed its peers in terms of price growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest report from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

Over the year to September quarter, prices in Canberra increased by 10.6%, higher than in any other state capital. The median dwelling price in the Australian Capital Territory increased by 3.9%, supported by its low jobless rate.

Median prices also increased in Brisbane (2.1%) and Adelaide (4%). Overall, the average capital city median house price rose by 3.6% to $773,760. 

On a quarterly basis, Melbourne was the only city to report a decline. However, prices in the Victorian capital remained 1.3% higher than last year.

Of all state capitals, Perth and Darwin registered the lowest median prices at $480,000, which was 38% lower than the national average.

The annual gains in prices across capital cities show the housing market's resiliency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Adrian Kelly, president of REIA.

"The challenges of 2021 remain significant, with the continued resumption of mortgage deferrals, the lasting impacts of new foreign policy settings for residential property and the uncertain future of international tourism, international students and immigration," he said.

A recent report from the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) showed that the annual median prices in capital cities increased significantly five years after the four recent economic downturns in Australia.

Peter Koulizos, PIPA chairperson, said homeowners and property investors should take comfort in the resilience of real estate during previous economic upheavals.

“We are better placed than in previous downturns because of the many financial support packages, such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, as well as the mortgage repayment pauses available for borrowers," he said.