The COVID-19 outbreak has contributed to the slight moderation in rental gains in March, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic.
Over the month, national rent values increased by 0.3% in the month, a slower growth than the recent peak growth rate of 0.5% in January.
CoreLogic's hedonic rental index has been on an uptrend since 2019, as new dwelling completions moderate, said Eliza Owen, head of research for Australia at CoreLogic.
"Steady overseas migration also contributed to added demand in the rental market over 2019. It has been documented that overseas migrants typically initially rent when they first arrive from overseas. However, it is worth noting that overseas migration rates had started to slow a little by September 2019," she said.
Also read: Tight market lifts Adelaide rents
On a quarterly basis, national rents grew by 1.2%. Capital city rents grew by 1.3% while regional rents went up by 1% during the March quarter.
Perth led the gains in rent, clocking a 0.8% growth in the month. Of all capital cities, only Brisbane and Hobart did not report gains in the month, with rents remaining flat in the former and falling by 0.4% in the latter.
Owen said the deceleration in the growth of rents and the decline in some areas suggest that the momentum is facing disruption.
"It is worth noting that rent data for the March quarter would capture little of the impact from COVID-19, where the regulations of social distancing that have been most disruptive to the economy commenced on March 23," Owen said.
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