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The number of affordable rentals hits a record low

The number of affordable rentals continues to decline across the country, making life incredibly tough for renters.

According to PropTrack, just 5.9 per cent of rental properties in Australia’s capital cities are priced under $400 per week.

The number of affordable rentals has fallen 50 per cent in the past 12 months, down from 10.6 per cent in April 2023.

PropTrack Senior Economist, Paul Ryan, said the situation had been getting worse since Covid began.

“Affordable rental options are vanishing across the country, with the number of rental properties available for under $400 a week hitting a new record low in April,” Mr Ryan said.

“At the start of the pandemic, 43.2 per cent of Australia’s rental properties cost less than $400 a week. 

“That figure has plummeted to just 10.4 per cent, which is a third lower than this time last year.”

Source: PropTrack

In March 2020, one in five house rentals in Sydney cost less than $400 a week – that figure is now one in 50. 

In Melbourne, one in 25 house rentals now cost less than $400. 

The ACT had the smallest share of properties listed to rent under $400 at 2.1 per cent, followed by Sydney (3.8 per cent) and Perth (5.6 per cent). 

Melbourne had the largest annual decline in the share of houses listed for less than $400 a week, followed by Adelaide and Sydney. 

Regional Australia has also been hit hard, with only 16.3 per cent of houses in now advertised for under $400 a week. 

Regional WA (14.8 per cent) had the smallest portion of properties listed to rent below $400, followed by regional Queensland (15.8 per cent) and regional NSW (21.5 per cent)

“Near record-low vacancy rates, reflecting strong demand and limited new supply, has created exceptionally challenging conditions for renters,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is particularly problematic for lower income households for whom almost no rental properties are affordable, highlighting the critical need for an increase in the supply of housing. 

“The imbalance between rental demand and supply has seen rental properties listed under $400 drop across all markets except Darwin, and without any meaningful action to improve rental supply we can expect to see this trend remain and price increases endure.”

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Rowan Crosby

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