House and unit rents finally fall in some cities, while room rents surge

Pressure might be starting to ease in some of the country’s most tightly held rental markets, with new data showing asking rents fell in a number of capital cities last month.

However, average room rents have surged higher, suggesting renters could be moving back to share accommodation in a bid to save money. 

According to, asking rents for Darwin apartments dropped 10.6 per cent in May, while they also fell 1.6 per cent for Hobart units and 1.5 per cent for Adelaide units.

Rents also fell 1.9 per cent for houses in Adelaide, which has been experiencing some of the tightest vacancy rates in the country.

Meanwhile, asking rents remained flat for both houses and units in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.

Melbourne was the main market to see an increase, with asking rents jumping 3 per cent for units and 1.9 per cent for houses in May, while Canberra units jumped 1.8 per cent.

Across the country, rents increased 2.2 per cent for units in May and remained flat for houses.

Vacancy rates across the country all increased with the exception of South Australia, suggesting there now might be more choice out there for renters. said rental demand is rising due to smaller households and migration.

“Increasing rents may lead to a shift towards shared housing,” they said.

“Immigrants are also expected to contribute to demand, but investment conditions have not been favourable.”

Room rents surge

The news was not as good for those looking to rent a room in a share house, with rents surging in May.

Australia’s rental market saw significant changes in May, with the cost of rooms in both apartments and houses in major metro areas skyrocketing compared to last year. 

Sydney is still the most expensive location to rent a room, with a 22.3 per cent increase in median apartment room prices at $398 per week, while Melbourne saw the highest increase in apartment prices at 27.5 per cent.

Apartment room prices in Brisbane and Perth climbed 14.5 per cent and 18.2 per cent, respectively, while Adelaide and Hobart saw 15 per cent and 13.1 per cent increases. 

Darwin’s house prices fell 2.7 per cent, but Canberra’s rose 1.5 per cent. 

Nationally, apartment room prices rose by 20.7 per cent to $350 per week, with houses up 7.1 per cent to $187 per week. 

According to, renters seeking affordability should brace for a competitive market.

Room Rents

Regions are still tight

The regional rental market in Australia experienced significant challenges in May, with tight supply still putting upward pressure on rents.

Western Australia emerged as the state with the highest annual increase in regional rents, recording a substantial growth of 22.2 per cent to reach $550 per week. 

Following closely, South Australia saw a notable increase of 15.1 per cent, bringing regional rents to $380 per week. 

Nationally, the median regional rent reached $500 per week, representing an 8.7 per cent increase.

Lease times

Australia’s rental market in major metro areas showed that each capital city market had very different conditions.

Melbourne had a 25 per cent improvement in apartment leasing time annually, while Brisbane saw faster leasing times for both apartments and houses on a monthly basis. 

However, annual data for houses in Brisbane showed a decline of 19.2 per cent slower leasing time. 

In Hobart, apartments experienced a monthly improvement of 6 per cent, but houses had a substantial 80 per cent slower leasing time annually. 

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.