Rental markets continue to move at different speed

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 Australia’s rental market remains a mixed one, with new figures showing a wide variance in conditions recorded across the country’s capital cities.

Released this week, the June quarter Domain Group Rental Report has revealed rents have hit record highs in some markets, while others are continuing to see rental rates in decline.

For the markets that have seen an increase in rents, Domain Group senior economist Andrew Wilson said they have been driven by the fact demand for rental accommodation is still outstripping supply.

“Despite easing conditions for tenants in many capital cities, the underlying demand for rental accommodation still remains ahead of supply,” Dr Wilson said.

“Fewer investors have intensified property shortages, while low numbers of first home buyers and migration have fuelled a rising demand for rentals,” he said.

Sydney is one such city where tenants have been offered little relief.

The median weekly house rent remained flat at $530 over the June quarter, though it is 1% higher than it was 12 months ago.

Unit rents in Sydney are currently hot on the heels of house rents, the median weekly rent now at $525, following a 1% increase in the quarter and a 5% increase year-on-year.

While unit rents are on the up currently, the booming number of apartments built in the city could soon put downward pressure on them.

“Despite record new apartment building, Sydney unit rents continue to rise and are, remarkably, closing in on house rents,” Dr Wilson said.

“House vacancy rates remain tight but, thankfully for Sydney tenants, unit vacancy rates are beginning to ease,” he said.

After a strong first three months of 2016, Melbourne’s rents for both houses and units remained flat over the three months to June at $400 per week and $380 per week respectively.

In the year since June 2015, house rents in Melbourne have increased 2.6%, while units are up 2.7%.

Similar to Sydney, Dr Wilson said landlords with units in Melbourne should brace themselves for the possibility of falling rents.

“Melbourne rents hit record levels last quarter and local tenants have felt the pressure,” he said.

“Now, with new rentals on the market, unit vacancy rates are easing, hinting that relief is on the horizon.”

Median weekly house and unit rents also stayed steady in Hobart over the quarter at $350 and $285 respectively, however the Tasmanian capital has seen significant growth over the past year.

House rents are currently 6.1% higher year-on-year, while unit rents are up 5.6% and tenants should be prepared for further increases.

“After a strong year of growth, Hobart rents remain steady but at record levels,” Dr Wilson said.

While the city still lays claim to the most affordable prices, it also has the lowest vacancy rates for an Australian capital city, suggesting tenants may see increasing price pressure.

Vacancy rates tightened to 1.6 per cent for units and 0.6 per cent for houses in Hobart over the quarter.

Rents are also on the rise in Canberra, with both quarterly and yearly increases seen in the nation’s capital.

The median weekly house rent in Canberra is up 2.2% over the quarter and 5.6% over the year to $475, while the median weekly unit rent is up 1.3% over the quarter and 3.2% over the year to $400.

According to Dr Wilson, there will be little relief for tenants in houses, while those in units may see some.

“It’s more bad news for Canberra tenants with rents steadily rising.

“Although house vacancy rates remain low, the new crop of apartments in the city could be set to ease vacancy rates and give tenants welcome relief.”

In Brisbane, rising vacancy rates resulted in rents falling over the June quarter.

The median weekly house rent dipped 2.4% to $400, while the median weekly unit rent declined 1.3% to $375.

Tenants in Adelaide also received some relief over the quarter, with the median weekly rent for a house down 1.4% to $355, while for units rents fell 1.7% over the quarter.

The worst hit markets continue to be Perth and Darwin as the rents in the two cities hit their lowest point in five years following the end of the resource boom.

In Darwin, the median weekly house rent fell 1.3% over the quarter and 8.3% year-on-year to $550, while unit rents were down 2.2% over the quarter and 12% year-on-year to $440.

For Perth, the median weekly house rent dropped 2.5% over the quarter and 9.3% over the year to $390, while the unit market has seen falls of 2.9% over the quarter and 10.7% over the year to $290.
 

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