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Surging immigration sees share of cheap rentals plummet

Conditions for renters continue to go from bad to worse, with new data showing surging immigration has pushed the share of rentals listed for under $400 per week to a record low 16.2 per cent.

The PropTrack Market Insight Report shows that strong immigration, combined with record low vacancy rates, has seen the share of sub-$400 rentals tumble from 41.86 per cent in March 2020, to the now record low level.

Only a year ago, 30.2 per cent of all rental listings were under $400 per week.

PropTrack Senior Economist and report author Eleanor Creagh said current rental conditions are incredibly challenging for renters.

“Strong demand, bolstered by rising immigration, is outstripping the supply of available rentals,” Ms Creagh said.

“In April, national advertised rents soared 11 per cent year-on-year, and vacancy rates were at, or close to, historic lows in most capital cities.”

Since the pandemic onset, the share of rental listings under $400 per week has more than halved, falling 25.7 percentage points.

In April, the number of listings under $400 fell 82 per cent compared to March 2020.

Source: PropTrack Market Insight Report

Rental conditions are currently the worst in the ACT, which held the smallest share of rentals priced under $400 per week at just 1.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, Perth has seen its share fall the most, dropping 86 per cent since March 2020. 

The share of total rental listings under $400 per week has halved in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Darwin, the ACT and regional WA over the past year. 

Regional areas saw larger percentage point falls in the share of listings under $400 per week throughout the pandemic. 

However, capital cities have seen larger declines in the past year, falling from 58per cent to just 11.9 per cent in April.

While, the share of units for rent has seen the strongest decline, falling from 35.6 per cent a year ago to 19.8 per cent in April 2023. 

The share of houses is smaller, sitting at just 12.6 per cent Ms Creagh said.

According to Ms Creagh, pressure has shifted from regional areas to the capital cities, particularly in inner-city areas, as demand from overseas immigration has increased. 

“The nation’s rental market is in dire straits, with little sign of meaningful reprieve on the horizon,” she said.

“Advertised rents are recording strong price increases and vacancies are at historic lows amid a shortage of rental supply.”

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Rowan Crosby

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