It's a tale of two housing segments in Darwin — while the detached dwelling market reported increases in sales and a small bump in prices, the unit market went the opposite direction, according to the latest report from the Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory (REINT).

Darwin's detached dwelling segment recorded a 10.9% increase in sales and a 1.6% gain in house prices to $477,500 in the past three months.

One of the biggest drivers of the increased sales is Darwin's North Coastal region, comprising of suburbs like Alawa, Coconut Grove, Milner, Nightcliff, and Wanguri. The region posted a 25.9% increase in sales over the quarter. Palmerston City also received interest from buyers, hitting an 11.3% growth in sales.

In terms of prices, the Inner Darwin region led the scoreboard, reporting robust value gains of 7.8%. The median vales in Palmerston also grew by 4%.

It was, however, a different story with the unit market. Sales of townhouses and attached dwellings in Greater Darwin declined by 11.6% over the quarter while the region's median price retreated by 7.5% to $280,000.

Quentin Kilian, CEO of REINT, said the decline in unit prices present an opportunity for investors and first-home buyers, given the relative affordability of the city compared to other state capitals.

In fact, Darwin's median unit value at $280,000 is lower than Adelaide's $315,000, Brisbane's $369,500, Perth's $370,000, Hobart's $385,000, Canberra's $439,250, Melbourne's $540,000, and Sydney's $647,000.

"The median value of units in Darwin 56% lower than Sydney's. There is no doubt, that apart from being the best and safest place in Australia to live, Darwin offers the best value in property purchases," Kilian said.

Active rental market

The REINT report also showed that vacancy rates across all jurisdictions in the Northern Territory declined over the quarter.

Greater Darwin rental vacancies have fallen to 3.6% while the Palmerston market registered its lowest vacancy rates at 2.9%. Alice Springs also recorded a drop in the vacancy rate to 4.3%.

In terms of rents, the results were mixed. Rents for three-bedroom detached dwelling declined by 1.5% but increased for two-bedroom units by 1.7%.

"One of the strongest points is for the investor market where rental yields remain very strong. House yields dropped slightly but still recorded a strong 4.9%. On the other hand, yield for units and apartment has risen to an extremely attractive 6.2% due to the decline in unit prices and the increase in rents," Kilian said.