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Record low share of rentals below $400 per week

Tight rental markets are putting extra pressure on low-income renters as the share of rental properties listed below $400 per week hits a record low.

According to the PropTrack Market Insight Report, the share of properties listed for rent on realestate.com.au for less than $400 per week nationally fell to just 19.3 per cent in September 2022, down from 41.8 per cent at the start of the pandemic.

Just 16.4 per cent of capital city rental listings were under $400 per week in September 2022, down from 36.1 per cent in March 2020, while the share was 28.2 per cent in regional areas, down from 57 per cent in March 2020.

PropTrack Director Economic Research, Cameron Kusher said those most vulnerable are the ones that are being hit hardest by the rental crisis.

“The shortage of rental stock across Australia is impacting all renters but it is acutely affecting lower income households, as highlighted by the significant reduction in properties available to rent under $400 per week,” Mr Kusher said.

“While the total number of properties available for rent is 31.4 per cent lower since the start of the pandemic, the number of properties available for rent under $400 per week has tightened even further, falling 68.2 per cent to sit at a record low.”

Mr Kusher said the supply of cheap rentals varies across the capital cities.

“In Hobart, Darwin and Canberra, less than one in 10 rental listings were for properties costing less than $400 per week. Adelaide and Melbourne had the highest share amongst capital cities,” he said.

“In Sydney, one in five rentals were advertised under $400/week a year ago, falling to one in 10 in September.

“Adelaide and Melbourne had the highest share amongst capital cities.”

Over the last year, Melbourne (-20.4 per cent), Adelaide (- 19 per cent) and Brisbane (-16.6 per cent) have seen the biggest percentage point decline in the share of listings available to rent under $400 per week.

No capital city market had more than a quarter of listings below $400 per week in September 2022.

According to Mr Kusher, rental conditions are going to get worse before they get better.

“With supply of rental listings continuing to tighten and competition for stock heating up due to low levels of first home buyer purchasing and increasing migration, we expect the supply of affordable rental listings under $400 per week to reduce even further over the coming months,” he said.

Source: PropTrack

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Rowan Crosby

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