Canberra remained the strongest capital city in Australia in terms of the growth in home values this year, according to a report by McGrath Estate Agents.

Dwelling values in Canberra have risen by 5% so far this year, weathering the negative impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the overall property market.

"Canberra’s resilience is largely due to its robust economy, its unique job security being a government town, and an incredibly low rate of infection at just 0.42% of the nation’s cases by October 2020," said John McGrath, founder and executive of McGrath Estate Agents.

McGrath said there is a surge in demand from buyers in Canberra, particularly first-home buyers and upgraders. These buyers, McGrath said, are going after houses over apartments in the city.

"Firstly, with interest rates so low, more people can afford a house. Secondly, changes to stamp duty exemptions for first-home buyers have steered more of them towards houses, thereby raising demand further," he said.

Canberra expanded the stamp duty exemptions last year to include established and new homes. Prices caps were also removed for these discounts.

These changes allowed first-home buyers to still take advantage of stamp duty savings and move in suburbs closer to the city.

"Progressively reduced stamp duty for all other buyers has also encouraged people to upgrade more freely as their lifestyle needs change, thereby raising demand specifically for houses," McGrath said.