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The rental markets that are still affordable

By Orana Durney-Benson
13 February 2024 | 11 minute read
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For those seeking sanctuary from city rents, regional Australia is a goldmine of hidden gems.

New research by MCG Quantity Surveyors has revealed that those needing a roof over their heads need not worry about entering the cutthroat Sydney or Melbourne rental markets.

The firm scoured Australia’s regions to identify hotpots across six states where good rental value is still within reach.

The group explained that their report was “crafted with the modern renter in mind – those who value flexibility, connectivity, and the freedom to choose a lifestyle that resonates with them”.

“For those ready to take the lead, this guide is your compass to finding a haven where you can thrive, not just survive, beyond the concrete jungle,” the firm stated.

According to Mike Mortlock, managing director of MCG Quantity Surveyors, regional living has become increasingly attractive to Australians in recent years.

Mr Mortlock said: “The allure of regional living is becoming increasingly irresistible, especially as urban centres continue to tighten their hold on renters.”

As well as providing a balm for those crushed by unliveable city rents, Mr Mortlock noted that regional areas also offer the chance to reconnect with others.

“For those feeling the urban market’s pinch, these regional areas provide more than just a residence; they offer a chance to be part of a community,” he said.

MCG Quantity Surveyors focused on suburb areas with vacancy rates of over 2 per cent and at least five vacant rental homes.

In NSW, top spots include areas of New England and the Central Tablelands where rental vacancies range from 2.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent, and median house rents are in the low $500 range.

Armidale, Tamworth and Orange offer “a mix of affordability and lifestyle”, while the South Coast suburbs of Berry, Kiama and Kangaroo Valley “present the highest rental figures, underlining their desirability and unique offerings”.

Down in Victoria, the best picks for cheap rentals are Churchill and Foster, “where renters can find solace with vacancy rates of over 2.86 per cent and rents as modest as $280 for units in Churchill”, according to MCG Quantity Surveyors. Steeper prices are found in coastal Victoria, where rents can surpass $700 per week.

Up in the Sunshine State, good value can be found in Central Queensland, with Banana and Kin Kora offering affordable options and good vacancy rates. Meanwhile, Burnett Heads and Pallarenda “offer appealing choices for sea-changers, with vacancy rates conducive to a less stressful search for a new home”.

Renmark and surrounds is the best option for South Australian regional renters, with a vacancy rate of 5.21 per cent and median rents of just $250 a week for units and $340 a week for houses.

In Western Australia, Mandurah offers the best value, with a 3.46 per cent vacancy and affordable rentals for all dwelling types.

MCG Quantity Surveyors concluded that Australia’s regional markets are “the final frontiers for renters looking to escape the urban rental crisis”, noting that rising regional demand is a boon for both renters and property owners alike.

The rental markets that are still affordable
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