Where is the toughest place in Australia to find a rental?

The suburb of Casuarina, near Tweed Heads, has been named the toughest place in Australia to find a rental property.

Research from Well Home Loans has found that the popular NSW beachside location had only one vacant rental property, while asking rents have jumped $205 in the past 12 months.

Casuarina had a vacancy rate of just 0.45 per cent, when the research was conducted last month, making it incredibly tough for renters.

Henley Beach South in South Australia, and Pelican Waters, Maleny and Bilinga in Queensland rounded out the top five toughest suburbs to find a rental property.

Each of the top five suburbs have seen rents jump by at least $145 in the past 12 months, with vacancy rates all under 0.73 per cent.

Across the top 20 tightly held rental locations, the majority were located in regional areas, with only three being in capital cities. A trend that has seen property prices in regional areas outpace capital cities over the past 12 months.

Well Home Loans CEO Scott Spencer said tight vacancy rates are great for investors but make it very difficult for renters.

“If you’re an investor in a suburb that contains only three vacant rental properties, tenants have to compete hard for your property, which gives you the chance to push up rents,” Mr Spencer said.

“Conversely, if you’re a tenant, life is really tough, because it’s difficult to find accommodation and you know rents are climbing fast.”

“To make matters worse, all the suburbs in this report are in areas with very low vacancy rates, so even if tenants were prepared to move one or two suburbs along, they’d still find it hard to secure accommodation. That gives investors considerable market power.”

The analysis looked at SA3 regions to determine how difficult it would be to find a rental in a certain suburb or even the surrounding suburbs. This was combined with socio-economic data.

To make the list, suburbs also had to have a maximum of three vacant rental properties out of a cohort at least 500, and days on market under 20. 

Mr Spencer noted that some of these suburbs had high levels of disadvantage, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which would make it hard for local residents to get onto the property ladder.

“Tweed Heads South and Tweed Heads West, for example, are located in an area in the bottom decile, which means their area is more disadvantaged than 90 per cent of areas within NSW,” he said.

“That makes it hard for tenants to afford rising rents and to save a deposit.

“Conversely, Casuarina is located in an area in the top decile, which means their area is less disadvantaged than 90 per cent of areas within NSW. So they would find it easier to cope with the big jump in local rents and to get onto the property ladder.”

The top 20 suburbs in Australia where it’s hardest to find a rental property. Source: Well Home Loans.

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Rowan Crosby

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