Darwin managed to defy the gloom and doom predictions in 2020, ending the year with an unexpected and substantial spike in dwelling prices.

Terry Roth, director at Herron Todd White, said the substantial increase in demand and market activity has led to price gains in some residential market segments in Darwin.

Roth said the government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak has played an important role in spurring activity from buyers.

"This is most evident in the introduction of generous incentives, especially for first home builders who could be entitled to up to $55,000 in various programs to encourage them to commence building, with all the economic multiplier benefits that it generates," he said.

The impact was apparent in some developments in Darwin where blocks were quickly snapped up by prospective buyers.

"This level of demand would have been unthinkable 12 months ago when estate developers were deliberating on whether to hold off on more land releases; now there is a scramble to get land developed as soon as possible," Roth said.

However, some market segments, particularly the inner suburbs, were not able to witness the same improvements.

"There is still an oversupply of residential units in the CBD and inner suburbs and this market segment has not improved to the same extent as some others," he said.

Still, Darwin had the best performance amongst all capital cities last year, clocking a 9% annual gain in prices, according to CoreLogic.