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The Australian suburbs facing a rental crisis

South Australia, New South Wales, and Tasmania have the most suburbs desperate for more rental stock, with many locations now seeing low-income earners at risk due to zero per cent vacancy rates.

The RentRabbit.com.au Rental Crisis Report recently identified the top 20 suburbs with low-income levels where vacancy rates have become incredibly tight, putting thousands of renters at risk.

Rocherlea, located in the northern suburbs of Launceston has been found to be the suburb most at risk, where the vacancy rate has fallen from 2.9 per cent to zero per cent.

A vacancy rate of zero indicates that all properties are renting out in less than 21 days, not that there are no rental properties available.

Making the top five suburbs were the coastal communities of Venus Bay and Golden Beach in Victoria which also have zero per cent vacancy rates, while Elizabeth South and Elizabeth North in South Australia both came in with vacancy rates that have fallen to 0.5 per cent.

The top suburbs identified in the research were spread across five states: South Australia (6), New South Wales (5), Tasmania (4), Victoria (3) and Queensland (2).

Five of the suburbs were in capital cities, while the other 15 were in regional locations.

Eleven of the top 20 suburbs had a vacancy rate of zero per cent, indicating the speed at which rental properties are being tenanted.

The research examined all suburbs in Australia with incredibly low vacancy rates (under 1.5 per cent), that also had low average weekly household incomes and were below-average in terms of socio-economic status.

RentRabbit.com.au co-founder Ben Pretty said the incredibly tight rental markets in these areas were putting many tenants in a desperate situation. 

“Many Australians are being faced with a triple whammy – they live in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, they have low household incomes and it’s incredibly hard for them to find rental accommodation,” Mr Pretty said.

“Some of these renters are living in suburbs that have a vacancy rate of zero per cent, which means rental properties are being snapped up the moment they become vacant. 

“Unsurprisingly, in the vast majority of these suburbs, rents have increased over the past year, often by double-digit percentages.”

Mr Pretty said the only way to fix the crisis in these areas was for more stock to become available.

“The RentRabbit.com.au Rental Crisis Report is designed to highlight the rental crisis facing significant numbers of people,” he said.

“Yes, it really is a crisis. 

“For the sake of renters living in those suburbs, we hope that more rental stock comes onto the market soon.”

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Rowan Crosby

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