Investment properties became slightly less attractive yesterday, after new data from Australian Property Monitors (APM) revealed weekly asking rents across the capital cities fell 2.2 per cent over the March quarter.
Yet rents in Perth continue to edge higher, according to the Real Estate Instritute of WA (REIWA).
According to APM's Rental Price Series Quarterly Report, national median asking rents for units fell by 1.1 per cent.
Median weekly asking rents for houses remained unchanged in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and fell in Canberra (2.0 per cent) and Adelaide (0.6 per cent) in the quarter.
“Flat or declining rental growth over the March quarter for both houses and units indicates decreased competition for rental accommodation, particularly from first homebuyers that have become active as housing affordability has improved,” APM’s senior economist Andrew Wilson said.
“However with ongoing shortages of accommodation, low levels of new supply and continued inactivity by investors, upward pressure on rentals can be expected to resume in most centres over 2012.”
Yet APM's data is at odds with preliminary March quarter numbers released by REIWA, which show that the vacancy rate for rental accommodation in Perth has stabilised, but that rents have risen slightly over the last few weeks.
The Institute’s data show the metropolitan vacancy rate at 1.9 per cent for the first three months of the year, but during the months of February and March alone it dropped to 1.6 per cent.
REIWA President David Airey said this situation created upward pressure on rents during the quarter lifting the median rent for a house by $5 per week and for a grouped dwelling by $20.
“The overall median rent for Perth is now $420 per week, which breaks down to $425 for a house or $400 for a unit, villa or townhouse.
“This represents a rent increase of 10 per cent on the same time last year.
“REIWA data show that the stock level for rental accommodation has improved by 12 per cent since the start of March, in sharp contrast to the 28 per cent fall during January and February,” Mr Airey said.
Mr Airey said there was still reasonable demand for accommodation but that Perth would avoid the rental crisis it experienced in the March Quarter of 2007, when long queues of hopeful applicants were commonplace.