Prime properties are back in favour with a growing number of buyers snapping up higher priced homes according to rpdata.com.

During the third quarter, sales of $1million or greater accounted for 5.1% of the total house sales nationally. This is a sharp increase from just 3.3% recorded in the first quarter. At the same time, the proportion of sales for properties below $400,000 fell to just more than 50% in the third quarter from a high of 60% during the first quarter.

"This change in market activity can be largely attributed to the improvement in buyer confidence among investor and non first homebuyer," said Cameron Kusher, research analyst with rpdata.com. "As the economy continued to recover and business and consumer confidence improved, buyers became active in the higher priced segments of the market."

"With values up 11.3% over the first eleven months of the year, we can also attribute some of the new market dynamic to bracket creep - where houses once priced under $300,000 are now achieving a value beyond $300,000."

Kusher said this trend is likely to continue into 2010 where fewer first homebuyers and more investors and upgraders to be active in the market.

"The premium markets (top 20% of homes based on price) have already started to outpace the broader market in terms of price growth as demand for these properties improves," he added.

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