Housing prices have continued their upward march - and there may be more gains to come.
The RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index, released on Monday, showed a 1.2 per cent rise in capital city dwelling values in January.
From January last year the gain was 9.8 per cent.
Although Sydney stood out with a 13.4 per cent annual gain, Melbourne is also recording double-figure percentage lifts nowadays, with an annual rise of 11.9 per cent.
Perth was next with a rise of 6.9 per cent.
The rest of the state and territory capitals recorded gains of under five per cent, aside from Hobart where prices edged back 0.2 per cent over the year.
Outside the capital cities, where the RP Data figures only take us up to December, annual gains averaged only 2.2 per cent.
Investors are maintaining an unusually strong presence in the market for housing finance.
Big mortgage broker Australian Finance Group (AFG) on Monday reported that 53.4 per cent of the loans processed in NSW in January were for investors.
"This is the highest proportion of new mortgages processed for investors in NSW in the six years AFG has been running its monthly Mortgage Index," AFG said.
The value of loans processed nation-wide in January by AFG was $2.58 billion, up 14 per cent from January last year.
AFG said the January figures indicated a "very strong start to the year, with continuing trends of high investment activity in NSW and robust first home buyer activity in WA".
One sign of buyer optimism was the preference for fixed rate loans.
"The proportion of borrowers opting for fixed rate loans fell to 23.9 per cent - its lowest level in a year".
And HSBC's Australian economist, Paul Bloxham, sees further gains in the market.
"We think the boom's going to continue in 2014. We think house prices will rise at low, double-digit rates (10 per cent or more), in 2014, because we think low interest rates will continue to support the housing market," Mr Bloxham told journalists at a briefing on Monday morning.
Rising prices had not had much impact on the wider economy yet, but it was starting to filter through, Mr Bloxham said.
"But we have now seen quite strong growth in recent months in building approvals."
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics later on Monday morning showed a minor fall in housing construction approvals in December.
But even after the 2.9 per cent fall in approvals in December, the rise through 2013 was still strong, at 21.8 per cent.
Mr Bloxham said the rise in prices and approvals would flow through into higher rates of construction "very soon".
"We think the residential construction cycle will see its strongest growth in over 12 years," he said.