Rents rise amid property downturn

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Landlords continue to increase rents in capital cities across Australia despite the significant downturn in the property market, according to a report by news.com.au.

Data from rent.com.au showed that that the rise was mostly observed in Melbourne and Sydney, where the drop in market price has been very apparent. Rent in Sydney and Melbourne units rose 3.8% and 2.3% February, respectively.

Patrick Veyret, a housing advocate at consumer group Choice, said that landlords are taking advantage of the “really costly process” of renters who refuse to move.

“There are all these costs around finding money for the bond, finding removalists, taking time off work, paying for cleaners,” he told news.com.au.

In addition, Veyret said that people were willing to accept an increase in rent because they didn’t have much bargaining power. He also said, though, that Aussies have the opportunity to negotiate directly with their landlord or agent to lower the rent.

“Very often, agents and landlords are willing to do that,” he told news.com.au.                                                                                                

Prices were unlikely to drop in high-demand areas close to a city’s centre, especially for those properties in short supply (i.e., those that are pet-friendly), rent.com.au Chief Executive Greg Bader said.

However, the apartment glut in most key cities is likely to trigger the drop in rent, according to Bader.

“With the number of properties available increasing in many areas, it’s likely that the market will see some softening as demand teeters off — most likely in areas where there’s some oversupply and in outer suburbs where there’s more choice,” Bader told news.com.au. “I don’t really think (the rise in average rent) is due to landlords raising their prices, more to do with the well-priced apartments being snapped up in the January rush. I suspect this will balance out in March/April,” Bader told news.com.au.

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