The red-hot property market in Adelaide continues to assert its dominance as values for houses and units outperform their bigger city counterparts.

In the 12 months to December, house values jumped by 26.09%, compared to the national average of 11.9% growth, according to the latest data from RP Data/Rismark Hedonic Indices. Units in the city were the runaway favourite, with values soaring by 32.58% - almost double the national average unit growth of 16.87%. This represents an average gain of $82,000 for Adelaide property owners.

Property owners in Brisbane saw their houses appreciate in value by 21.4%, while unit values surged by 30.53%. Melbourne house values rose by 18.98% and units by 21.72%.

"Units and townhouses are increasing in popularity due to their more affordable price points," said Tim Lawless, RP Data's director of property research. "These buyers are looking towards higher density living in order to buy into the market."

Lawless pointed out that developers are also catering to the unit market by providing larger floor areas, open-plan designs, a blend of indoor and outdoor living, and integrating high-end fixtures and fittings.

Perth remained in the doldrums with house values falling by 3.34% in the three months ending December. On a year-on-year basis, houses decreased in value by 1.16%.

However, Lawless noted that Western Australia is enjoying the highest rate of population growth in the country, which is fuelling demand for housing. "If population is a sound indicator of a market's potential, then the Perth market will experience a turnaround. Affordability appears to be the issue holding back the market," he said.