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Cheap rentals down nearly 50% since last year

By Orana Durney-Benson
20 November 2023 | 1 minute read
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Only 11 per cent of rental properties in Australia are priced at $400 or less per week.

Finding an affordable rental has been a perennial challenge for Australia’s tenants, but new data reveals that this year may be harder than ever for Aussies who rent.

Over the last 12 months, the national median rent has risen by 15 per cent from $480 to $550 per week. Homes with rents of below $400 per week are now down to just 11 per cent of all rental stock – half of what it was in 2022 – making it more difficult than ever for households with lower incomes to afford a home.

According to REA Group’s senior data analyst Karen Dellow, this figure “is not reflective of the affordability crisis experienced in the cities,” where prices can be even steeper.

The crisis is worst in Canberra, where the median weekly rent is $600, and just 2 per cent of properties are available at $400 per week or less.

When it comes to houses rather than units, the Canberra rental market is even tighter, with less than 1 per cent of homes on offer in the $400 per week bracket.

However, Ms Dellow emphasised that “it matters not whether Canberrans are looking for an affordable house or unit; there are very few of either”.

In Sydney, only 4 per cent of all rentals are let for below $400 per week, down a massive 62 per cent compared to this time last year, whilst only 9 per cent of Melbourne rentals are in this affordable bracket.

“All other cities, except for Hobart, have critically low levels of affordable housing, significantly fewer than last year,” Ms Dellow reported.

Down in the Tasmanian capital, rentals below $400 per week have increased 74 per cent from last year, and currently make up 13 per cent of current rental stock on the market.

As Ms Dellow warned: “This is still low and doesn’t provide many options for renters on a budget.”

She advised that the most affordable areas to seek rental accommodation are in regional Australia, where the median rent sits at $490 per week, compared to $570 per week in the combined capitals.

Regional South Australia could be a particular haven, with 60 per cent of rental stock going for $400 per week or less.

Regional Tasmania and Victoria may also be viable options, with over 30 per cent of listings in the affordable bracket.

“The only way to increase the affordable housing stock in Australia is to build enough new rental properties to meet the demand or reduce demand,” Ms Dellow said.

“But with the population growing faster than expected and more people living independently, demand will continue growing for the foreseeable future.”

Cheap rentals down nearly 50% since last year
for rent
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