The Bankwest Housing Density Report found medium density housing approvals rose by 31.2 per cent in WA over the past 12 months, the fastest growth of all states.
The area where the most medium density approvals occurred over the past 12 months was Perth City, followed by Belmont and Victoria Park.
Despite the strong growth, WA still lags behind the national average of 43 per cent of new home approvals being for medium density properties.
Bankwest executive general manager of retail, Andrew Whitechurch said this research showed West Australians still “have a strong preference” for freestanding housing.
“Perth has experienced a 43.7 per cent increase in medium density approvals over the past year, accounting for 94.4 per cent of medium density housing approvals across the state,” he said.
“This increase is greater than for any other capital city in Australia. While Western Australia is yet to reach medium density approval rates in line with the rest of the nation, its strong population growth and low unemployment suggests medium density approval rates could increase further.”
Mr Whitechurch said the Bankwest First Time Buyer Deposit Report revealed WA has a “relatively affordable” housing market, due to wages growing faster than median house values over the past five years.
“Western Australia has seen an increase in the number of first time buyers, which may have a flow on effect for medium density housing approvals in the years to come,” he said.
Nationally, the report revealed medium density approvals were moving towards a 20-year high, with 85,323 approvals in the 12 months to November 2014.
The proportion of medium density approvals remains well above the average rate of 33.7 per cent over the past 20 years and has been trending upwards — sitting at 43 per cent of approvals last year.
"It's likely first home buyers are boosting the popularity of medium density housing as they are finding it more and more difficult to afford a standalone house, especially in our capital cities," he said.
"Increasing competition for housing and higher prices will no doubt lead to further growth in medium density housing approvals in the future."
Bankwest research also shows units are considerably more affordable in the capital cities.
It takes an average 3.3 years for a first time buyer couple to save a 20 per cent deposit on a median priced unit, compared to 4.1 years to save for a freestanding house.