Rental pain persists Australians suffer as rental prices keep climbing
Unit rents growing faster than house rents, while major cities experience the highest rental growth, exacerbating the housing crisis. Image: Canva.
  • Australians face soaring rents, stagnant growth, and limited affordable housing.
  • Unit rent rises outpaced house rent rises for both the quarter and the year.
  • Calls for substantial investment in social housing to alleviate the worsening rental crisis and affordability challenges.

The past year has been grim for Australians slogging through the combined whammy of intensifying house and rental prices, contracting rental vacancies and a cost-of-living crisis.

The September 2023 quarter provided no respite for Australians hoping for any improvement in Australia’s rental situation, with the latest PropTrack Market Insight reporting little change in the market’s rental growth.

More of the same

Across Australia, advertised rents grew by 3.8% over the September 2023 quarter, a marginal drop from the 3.9% rise seen over the June 2023 quarter.

Median advertised rental prices increased by 14.6% over the year to September 2023, rising from the 14% yearly growth of the past quarter and 10.3% in September 2022.

PropTrack rental prices, September 2023

PropTrack rental prices, September 2023
Source: PropTrack.

Unit rents outpaced houses, 4% higher over the quarter and 15.6% over the year. While house rents stalled over the quarter, they were 10% higher over the past year.

Capital city rents rose more quickly than their regional counterparts, growing by 12.2%, almost double the 6.7% in the regions.

Regional Western Australia, Melbourne, and Sydney witnessed the most significant rental growth over the previous quarter, while Hobart, Canberra, and regional Tasmania had the sharpest declines.

“Rents are climbing at a rapid pace. The median advertised house rent is now $550 per week and the median advertised unit rent is now $520 per week,” said PropTrack director of economic research and report author, Cameron Kusher.

“House rents have been unchanged for six months, while unit rents have continued to rise. We expect the difference in price between houses and units to narrow over the coming months,” he added.

“The ongoing rapid rate of population growth, coupled with a persistent reduction in the supply of properties available for rent, have maintained the pressure on the cost of renting, particularly in major capital cities.

“Rental growth is likely to continue in the major capital cities. The flatlining of regional rents over the past six months may point to softer rents for the regions in the coming months.”

Renewed calls for social housing

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Maiy Azize has continued calls for governments to substantially raise the supply of social housing.

“Australia’s housing crisis just keeps getting worse. Rents are unsustainably high, pricing people out of their communities and pushing them to the brink,” she said.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are in rental stress, but there is virtually nowhere for renters to find a cheaper place to live. Renters are reaching an affordability ceiling – there’s only so much they can stretch their budgets for the security of a home.

“The private rental market simply isn’t delivering affordable homes. The government must boost social and affordable housing to help the growing number of renters who are deep in housing stress, and living on the edge or below the poverty line.

“The government’s new investments in social housing must be backed by a plan to end our shortfall of 640,000 social homes. Australia needs 25,000 new social housing dwellings each year to see an end to housing stress, homelessness, and overcrowding.”

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