New research reveals Australia’s cheapest rental market

Adelaide is the cheapest rental market in the country with renters paying around $447 per week.

According to CoreLogic’s quarterly Rental Review, Australia’s cheapest suburb was also in Adelaide, with Elizabeth South tenants paying just $317 per week.

The most affordable houses to rent ranged across the country with Melton in Victoria ($351), Russell Island in Brisbane ($364), Medina in Perth ($372), Primrose Sands in Hobart ($442) and Moulden in Darwin ($500) the cheapest in each state.

Canberra remains the most expensive capital city rental market, with typical dwellings renting for $651 per week, followed by Sydney ($604), Darwin ($561), Hobart ($521),  Brisbane ($507) and Melbourne at $456 per week.

Vaucluse in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is Australia’s most expensive suburb for house rentals with a weekly rent of $2308.

Source: CoreLogic

For units, Sydney’s Point Piper, also in the city’s eastern suburbs, has the most expensive rent at $1086 per week compared to Orelia, almost 40km south of Perth, which has the country’s most affordable median unit rents at $258 per week.

The quarterly Rental Review shows the national rental index increased 1.9 per cent during the December quarter. Across the country, rents have risen 9.4 per cent to December.

CoreLogic’s Research Director Tim Lawless said rents were under extraordinary pressure from many factors, not least the demand for detached housing and an ongoing lack of rental supply. 

“For more than 18 months we’ve seen demand for detached housing continue unabated as more renters work from home, either on a permanent or now hybrid working arrangement, which drives demand for more spacious living conditions,” Mr Lawless said. 

“In addition to this trend, investors, while still active in the market, have been dwarfed by an over representation of owner occupiers entering the market, upgrading or buying holiday homes that aren’t being added to the rental pool. This is also being played out in the rapid growth in regional rental markets.”

Regional rents continued to outpace capital city rents over the fourth quarter with regional dwellings rising 2.5 per cent against the 1.6 per cent rise in capital city rents, taking the annual regional rental growth rate to 12.1 per cent. 

Mr Lawless said the stronger rental conditions across the regional markets had come as populations moved away from the major cities.

“While demand has risen we generally haven’t seen much of a supply response. Australia’s rental market is mostly reliant on private sector investors to provide rental housing,” he said. 

“Investors as a proportion of total mortgage demand moved through record lows in early 2021, highlighting relatively low levels of investment activity across the country and also implying relatively low levels of new rental stock coming onto the market.

“Arguably the regions have less elasticity in rental markets, meaning, when demand rises, supply is less responsive than capital cities where investors are generally more active.”

Mr Lawless noted the impact of migration during the pandemic had impacted Melbourne and Brisbane markets.

“Brisbane’s rental market for houses has shown strength throughout the pandemic as demand outweighed supply, while Melbourne’s unit market has been weak through most of the pandemic to date due to low demand against relatively high vacancy rates,” he said.

“Melbourne’s unit market is now benefitting from higher demand as more domestic renters seek out affordable housing options in the unit sector.

“Demand for Melbourne unit rentals is likely to increase more sharply as foreign students and international visitors return.”

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Rowan Crosby

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