INDUSTRY NEWSNationalReal Estate News

‘Hostile’ rental conditions see tenants paying 41 per cent of their income on rent

The ongoing rental crisis is making life hard for renters in Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland, with some suburbs seeing tenants forced to pay more than 40 per cent of their income on rent.

Suburbtrends, Rental Pain Index, which assesses the change in rental prices and vacancy rates, found Christie Downs, in South Australia, had the worst conditions for renters in the country.

Tenants there are forced to pay 41 per cent of their income on rent, while rents have risen 10 per cent over the past 12 months.

While Ashcroft – Busby – Miller in NSW and Meridan Plains – Little Mountain (North) in QLD also saw renters paying more than 40 per cent of their incomes on rent.

Suburbs such as Rothwell – Kippa-Ring (QLD) and Bass Hill – Georges Hall (NSW) have also seen unprecedented rental increases of 15 per cent and 17 per cent, coupled with vacancy rates below 1 per cent.

Suburbtrends Founder Kent Lardner said conditions were “hostile” in many of these rental markets.

“Vacancy rates under 1 per cent in most of these suburbs show the immense strain on housing availability,” Mr Lardner said.

“When you’re allocating nearly half your income on rent, as seen in Bass Hill – Georges Hall, the financial stress becomes unbearable.”

He said renting is considered unsustainable when tenants pay more than 35 per cent of their income on rent.

In St Johns Park – Wakeley (NSW) and Seaton – Grange (SA), renters allocate 35 per cent of their income to housing, despite witnessing a 13 to 15 per cent increase in rental prices over the past year.

Source Suburbtrends

Across the country, WA tenants have copped a 16.59 per cent increase in rents in the past 12 months, while the low vacancy rate of 0.58 per cent means supply remains incredibly tight.

South Australia and Queensland are both close behind WA, seeing a 13 per cent increase in rents and vacancy rates below 0.7 per cent.

The report found that NSW and Victoria are currently experiencing moderate but still concerning trends.

NSW has seen rents rise 11.87 per cent in the past year and has a vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent. 

Victoria has seen rents surge 9.97 per cent and has a 0.69 per cent vacancy rate, slightly better than NSW but far from comfortable for renters. 

Renters in Tasmania are fairing better, with rents increasing only 4.48 per cent on the back of a higher vacancy rate of 1.77 per cent.

The ACT is the most favourable for renters, with just a 2 per cent increase in rents and boasts the highest vacancy rate of 2.12 per cent.

Notably, it is the only state where vacancy rates have risen, showing a positive change of 0.13 per cent.

Mr Lardner said the staggering numbers are a “call to action” to the government.

“Policymakers and stakeholders need to acknowledge this growing crisis,” he said.

“The relentless climb in rent and plummeting vacancy rates are not just statistics but indicators of a quality of life that is rapidly deteriorating for Australian renters.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.