number of affordable rentals extremely low according to new report
The number of affordable rentals continue to dry up. Image: Canva.
  • Available rentals under $400 per week drops to new lows
  • Vacancy rates increase, but rental prices also rise
  • Demand continues to be heaped onto the market

The rental market in Australia has started to show signs of easing as the vacancy rate begins to rise. Darwin was the only capital to go against the grain, but the state of rentals across the nation remains dire.

While rises were recorded some were marginal, with cities like Adelaide and Perth still seeing sub-1% rates.

Among other issues – finding an affordable rental has become even more challenging, with the number of properties listed below $400 per week continuing to dwindle.

Australian vacancy rates grow

The latest PropTrack data has revealed vacancy rates eased across the nation last month, rising 0.12 percentage points (ppt) to 1.42%. The rise was recorded across both cities and the regions, with capitals recording a 0.14 ppt rise, and the regions up 0.10 ppt.

SQM Research data similarly shows rates have been gradually moving up since the start of the year, with January recording a rate of 1%, nationally, the latest 1.2%.

While there may be a slowly growing number of rentals becoming available, prices continue to exsanguinate Australian wallets; PropTrack data shows rental prices are up more than 8.7% over the past 12 months, with SQM data showing weekly asking rents* moving up a sharp incline across the capitals. The 12 month change is up 20.4%, rolling quarter change is up 4.2%, with the rolling month change only up 0.4%, according to SQM’s weekly rents index for capital cities average.

Nationally, the SQM data shows some stagnation since February.

Weekly asking rents, National

While vacancy rates have grown, major cities are still seeing tight markets. PropTrack data revealed that Sydney and Melbourne are still seeing vacancy rates below last year’s figures.

Rental vacancy rates April 2023

All dwellings Vacancy rate Monthly change (ppt) Quarterly change (ppt) Annual change (ppt) Change since March 2020
Sydney 1.59% 0.17 -0.05 -0.45 -54%
Melbourne 1.36% 0.13 -0.13 -1.10 -48%
Brisbane l.22% 0.10 0.07 -0.20 -48%
Adelaide 0.97% 0.10 0.05 0.12 -37%
Perth 0.98% 0.09 0.09 -0.31 -62%
Hobart 1.65% 0.31 0.56 0.88 2%
Darwin 1.66% -0.18 -1.00 -0.09 -66%
ACT 2.06% 0.25 0.19 1.04 94%
Capital Cities 1.38% 0.14 -0.02 -0.48 -49%
Rest of NSW 1.70% 0.12 0.17 0.53 -24%
Rest of VIC 1.38% 0.16 0.26 0.44 -16%
Rest of QLD 1.54% 0.05 0.03 0.25 -42%
Rest of SA 1.03% 0.07 0.04 0.12 -62%
Rest of WA 1.43% 0.01 -0.25 0.01 -59%
Rest of TAS 1.39% 0.16 0.42 0.13 -18%
Rest of NT 2.54% 0.18 -0.38 1.23 -30%
Regional Areas 1.54% 0.10 0.11 0.36 -35%
National 142% 0.12 0.01 -0.25 -46%

Source: PropTrack.

Affordable rentals dwindle

In March, The Property Tribune reported on the availability of affordable rentals, with the PropTrack data then showing numbers hit new lows.

The latest data revealed yet another low, with the PropTrack report finding the share of rentals listed under $400 per week has fallen 46% over the past year.

“The share of total properties listed for rent on for less than $400 per week in April 2023 fell to 16.2%, the lowest on record,” said the report.

Among the factors driving the market is high levels of demand, partly bolstered by immigration.

It was also revealed that the number of affordable rentals has more than halved since the pandemic hit.

Canberra worst for renting

The nation’s capital already has the reputation for being the most expensive city to rent in, with the latest affordability data not boding well for Canberra.

In April 2023, the Australian Capital Territory only saw 1.8% of rentals priced below $400 per week.

Figures from the PropTrack report also found Perth saw its share fall the most, slipping 51.2 percentage points or 86% since March 2020.

Share of total rental listings below $400 per week – April 2023, dwellings

Region Mar-20 Apr-22 Apr 23
Sydney 21.76% 18.95% 9.13%
Melbourne 38.62% 38.64% 16.55%
Brisbane 45.79% 26.36% 10.89%
Adelaide 60.05% 3626% 21.90%
Perth 59.39% 30.05% 8.17%
Hobart 32.67% 19.71% 9.83%
Darwin 43.96% 13.95% 8.74%
ACT 9.81% 5.34% 1.83%
Capital Cities 36.25% 28.14% 11.93%
Rest of NSW 51.99% 33.99% 24.91%
Rest of VIC 76.57% 4&08% 36.50%
Rest of QLD 50.46% 32.07% 19.32%
Rest of SA 93.82% 84.19% 71.49%
Rest of WA 68.03% 40.88% 22.01%
Rest of TAS 78.19% 53.31% 44.12%
Rast of NT 35.63% 34.49% 29.56%
Regional Areas 57.63% 37.24% 26.56%
National 41.86% 30.18% 16.19%

Source: Proptrack.


* Weekly asking rents is different to the other measure of rents.

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