The ABS released its Residential Property Prices Indexes to June 2015 last week.
Looking in the second chart below at established houses only since Q3 2002, Sydney has been playing some serious catch-up over the past three years.
The most interesting point of note is how the long run data since 2002 seems to imply a convergence of the results for all eight of the respective capital cities.
Meanwhile the attached dwellings only index below reveals a similar pattern, although on average it records a slightly less dramatic incline through the present cycle to date, but less impressive growth in a number of cheaper cities where demand for apartment dwelling is less robust.
Note that the ABS data for attached dwellings only runs back to Q3 2003 which partly accounts for the lower growth over the full history of the data.
There has also been the small matter of a once-in-a-century mining boom combined with a one-off structural shift to lower interest rates to take account of.
As as a result those "top 100 best performing suburbs" lists almost invariably include a number of remote suburbs that few people have heard of where median house prices are around $150,000.
Since $150,000 is more or less the cost of building a house today, it follows that the real appreciation in land values has actually been weak, and the strong "growth" results are just as likely to be quirk of sampling.
The house I grew up in is a great example, having apparently achieved incredible compounding capital "growth" of an amazing 9 per cent per annum for fully 35 years!
Thing is, you take off the cost of the extension, the replacement of the dodgy carport with a garage, and various upgrades to the interior, and the capital growth in real terms has been zero percent.
Cheaper properties can sometimes come with other associated problems - such as tenancy or vacancy risk - while any unfortunately substantial repair cost (e.g. for the roof) can wipe away years of returns at a stroke due to the lower base cost of the asset.
Moreover suburb median prices are by and large a waste of time - the only statistics that really tell you anything worthwhile when it comes to real estate are like-for-like sales.