Hang Seng Financial - A gauge of prices in the eight regional capitals rose over 6% in the third quarter from a year earlier, and 4.2% above the previous quarter, the Statistic Bureau said Monday.
The rise takes the index 2.6% above its previous peak, recorded in the first quarter of 2008. The weighted-average index of home prices stood a record 134.4 at the end of the third quarter.
Analysts surveyed by Hang Seng Financial had expected a 4.3% rise in September from a year earlier, and a 2.75% on-quarter rise, according to reports.
The housing data lifted the odds the Reserve Bank will lift interest rates by a quarter-point to 3.5% when it convenes its November meeting Tuesday.
Among the eight cities tracked by Hang Seng Financial, Darwin led the way in terms of on-year gains, rising 12.3%, followed by Melbourne with an 8.4% rise, and Canberra at 7.8%. Home prices in Sydney were up 5.9% on year.
The Australian government has cited a shortage of available homes among reasons for the rapid price gains. Also commonly cited among economists are population gains as the nation's resilient economy, which avoided the recession triggered by the global economic maelstrom, attracts a steady flow of immigrants looking for jobs.
Migration swelled Australia's population by 439,000 in the 12 months to March, the strongest pace on record, according a Dow Jones report Hang Seng Financial recently received, which cited research by ANZ Bank.