Nationally, established house prices rose by 0.9% for the quarter and 8.3% higher compared to a year earlier. Houses in Brisbane and Darwin gained the most in the same quarter, each notching a 3% increase. Adelaide also recorded healthy growth in house prices. Over the three months ending December, house prices rose by 2.6%, and 6.4% over the year - the fastest growth it had seen since December 2003. On an annual basis, Perth and Darwin have kept their status as the two standout markets in Australia. Perth house prices jumped by 36.9% last year while Darwin surged by 17.6%. However, fears of an overheating market and worsening affordability are taking their toll on Perth's property prices, as shown by the significantly lower price growth in the two most recent quarters. "The Sydney market continued to teeter on the brink of positive growth, with house prices falling by 1% from the September quarter and 0.1% lower compared to a year ago," said Tim Lawless, national research director with PRDnationwide. "With the Sydney market still languishing, many investors are now picking the market to be ripe for investments as yields are showing improvement and the prospect of long-term capital growth becomes apparent."