It's a debate property experts often take up: are houses in the inner or outer suburbs best for capital growth? Based on the latest figures, at least, the answer seems to be the outer areas.

A recent report by RP Data showed that inner city houses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane dropped in median value by about 10% each in February from a year earlier. That contrasts with outer suburbs of these cities which produced positive growth, or substantially less drops in value.

"This is an interesting shift in market conditions and performance," said Cameron Kusher, a research analyst with RP Data. "For the first time on record, we're seeing a surge in performance at the lower end while properties at the top end continue to show lacklustre performance."

The statistical subdivision (SSD) which had the greatest fall in median value over 12 months was Boroondara City in Melbourne, dropping 17.4%, according to RP Data. Boroondara, with a median house value of about $924,000, is home to exclusive suburbs such as Kew, Canterbury, Hawthorn and Glen Iris. Another exclusive area, Northern Sydney, also showed a similar drop, down 15.3% on the year. The North Sydney SSD had a February median house value of $1.14m includes Mosman, Artarmon, North Sydney and Wollstonecraft.

Conversely, RP Data said the more affordable Fairfield-Liverpool in Sydney's outer west saw values up 4.8% to reach $394,000 in Feburary. Melbourne's Melton-Wyndham SSD, also an outer suburb, saw 4.6% growth , up to $276,000.

Perth and Brisbane had none of its SSDs showing positive annual growth in house median value, said RP Data. The strongest performing Adelaide SSD was Northern Adelaide, where values remained unchanged over the year.

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