Melbourne Rent Now Nation’s Second Cheapest


The cost of renting a house in most capital cities hit record highs in the March quarter, according to Domain’s latest rent report.

Melbourne, Perth and Darwin were the nation's exceptions to the trend.

Melbourne's rental market has recorded price falls for house and unit rents during the past year and quarter, which means Melbourne is now tied with Perth as the second-most-affordable capital city to rent in.

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said inner Melbourne unit rents dropped by $110 a week.

“This is good news for renters as it firmly remains a renters' market,” she said.

Domain data shows that all other capitals have seen median rental asking prices hold steady or increase during the quarter and year, except units in Sydney.

House weekly asking rent

Capital CityMar-21Dec-20Mar-20QoQYoY

^ Rent report, Domain.

Sydney units recorded the steepest annual fall since Domain records began in 2004, with a 9.6 per cent drop, or $50 a week reduction, compared to the same period last year.

“Sydney’s rental market remains varied depending upon property type and location. House rental conditions are tighter compared to units and prices have become more competitive in the outer suburbs,” Powell said.

Following three strong consecutive quarters of rent gains, Brisbane rents are at record highs, showing the steepest annual increase in house rents since 2008.

Annually, the biggest jump in asking rent was recorded for houses in Brisbane’s north and Moreton Bay North, up 6.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent annually respectively.

“Queensland has always been a preferred destination for those moving interstate. However, the pandemic has made remote working a possibility and may have fast-tracked the decisions,” Powell said.

Powell said Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast rental markets continued to outperform Brisbane with rents rising at a faster pace.

“Sunshine Coast house rents have surged $80 above last year and $50 higher on the Gold Coast, to $580 and $560 respectively,” Powell said.

“Unit asking rents on the Gold Coast have risen $25 during the year to $465 a week. On the Sunshine Coast they are $40 higher at $460.”

Units weekly asking rent

Capital CityMar 21Dec-20Mar-20QoQYoY

^ Rent report, Domain.

Perth and Darwin recorded the greatest median asking rent increases for houses and units during the year with rental prices increasing by $70 a week in some areas.

“In half a year, Perth has moved from the most affordable capital city to more expensive than Adelaide. House rents are now on par with Melbourne,” Powell said.

Perth rents have now risen for three consecutive quarters.

The report found that Hobart rents jumped by $20 during the March quarter, pushing house rents to a record high. Asking rents for houses are now at $480 a week and $420 for units.

“It was only about five years ago that Hobart was the most affordable capital city to rent—it is now the fourth most expensive city to rent a house and unit,” Powell said.

Latest SQM Research shows vacancy rates remain tight in Australia’s cities, with exception in Sydney and Melbourne, creating a surge in rents in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.

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