Rental market snapshot - July 2021

Rental property website Rent.com.au has released its report for July 2021, based on property leasing data. The report illustrates the shift in Australian median rental property prices (both metro and regional), rental affordability (the median room price metric) and days on market.

Rent.com.au Rental Snapshot Highlights:

  • Darwin apartments recorded the most significant upward shift in median rents in July, with prices up 11.2% to $445/week.
  • Low vacancies in some metro capitals likely attributed to the exodus of residents from Sydney and Melbourne fleeing ongoing lockdowns
  • Sydney houses were the most unaffordable of all dwellings in July at $640/week (up 3.2% on June 2021)

Table 1: Median rent (apartments v houses) and price per room

Metro area Apartments % change Houses % change Price per room % change
SYDNEY $475 0% $640 3.20% $260 0.70%
MELBOURNE $370 1.30% $430 0% $183 1.60%
BRISBANE $410 2.50% $482 0.40% $180 0%
PERTH $395 0% $450 0% $160 0%
ADELAIDE $355 1.40% $430 2.30% $156 4%
HOBART $382 -2% $510 2% $183 0%
DARWIN $445 11.20% $600 1.60% $190 0%
CANBERRA $500 19% $627 6.20% $245 5.10%
National median $415 -1.10% $475 0% $200 0%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

Price trends in May 2021

Median rents.

Rents are slowly rising in many of Australia’s metro capitals, with low vacancy rates putting pressure on a few rental markets. Tight rental vacancy rates are driving up rents in the capital cities and the regions.

Australia faces ongoing international border closures, but low vacancies in some capitals could be attributed to Melbournians and Sydneysiders choosing to flee ongoing lockdowns.

Rental markets in some of the smaller capital cities and regional areas are seeing some benefits from the mass exodus of residents.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicated a substantial increase in movers from Sydney and Melbourne during the pandemic. More than 60,000 residents departed the two biggest cities to other parts of the country over the year to March 2021.

This statistic is particularly significant in Melbourne, which has lost 32,000 residents during the period following the COVID recession. Melbourne’s shift in population has been compounded by the loss of overseas migration, which typically underwrites economic growth in Victoria. More than 31,600 Sydney residents left to other parts of the country during the same period.

A house in Sydney remains the most expensive dwelling to rent in Australia, now at a median of $640/week – closely behind was a house in Canberra at $627/week. Darwin apartments experienced the largest increase in median rents in July – up 11.2% to $445/week.

As July ended with New South Wales and parts of southeast Queensland In lockdown, renters will likely continue to face hardship as lockdowns continue, particularly among low-income, low-saving households reliant on government support.

Price per room.

Rent.com.au’s price per room measure is another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia. Looking at the 12-month change in room prices, both apartments and houses recorded price increases in July, up 2.3% and 0.5%, respectively. The most significant shifts in room costs were in apartments; rents were up in all states and territories except Brisbane, with the most significant changes seen in Adelaide (11.2% to $199/week), Hobart (6.4% to $230/week), and Sydney, up 5% to $315/week.

The country’s most expensive room prices were in Canberra for apartments at $328/week and Sydney for houses ($217/week).

Table 2: 12-month change in price per room (Apartments versus Houses)

Metro area Apartments % change from JUL 2020 Houses % change from Jul-20
SYDNEY $315 5% $217 3.20%
MELBOURNE $230 2.20% $143 1.20%
BRISBANE $225 0% $150 0%
PERTH $230 2.20% $140 -2.30%
ADELAIDE $199 11.20% $142 -2%
HOBART $230 6.40% $172 -4.60%
DARWIN $225 4.70% $173 -1.50%
CANBERRA $328 0.80% $205 5.10%
National median $263 2.30% $158 0.50%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

Regional rents.

Rental conditions remain essentially unchanged in Australia’s regions, with just a 1.2% rise in the national median in July. Northern Territory remains the least affordable of all states/territories for rental properties, with the median rent now perched at $500/week.

Only two states saw prices drop in July: Tasmania’s regional rents came down by 6.6% to $350/week, and Queensland saw rents fall by 2.3% to $410/week. Regional rents in all remaining states and territories jumped month-on-month, with the most notable change seen in South Australia, up 6.6% to $320/week. Despite showing the most considerable increase, South Australia remains the most affordable for regional properties.

Table 3: Regional rents in July 2021 x

State/Territory Jul-21 % change from JUN 2021
NSW $450 2.20%
VIC $370 2.70%
QLD $410 -2.30%
WA $420 5%
SA $320 6.60%
TAS $350 -6.60%
NT $500 4.10%
ACT n/a n/a
National median $420 1.20%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

Time on market.

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure is designed to explain the movement in median rents across Australia. The month-on-month change to property leasing time was most noticeable in Melbourne, where apartment rentals lasted an average of 34 days before shifting, 20% quicker than in June 2021.

Hobart apartments were the quickest off market in July, leasing 15% faster than the prior month prior at 14 days. Melbourne apartments, perhaps affected by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, stayed on market longer than any other metro area, taking an average of 34 days to lease.

Considering the annual change in time on market, Darwin recorded the most significant change of all metro areas, with apartments leasing 41% faster than they did back in July last year.

Table 4: Time on market in July 2021

Metro area APARTMENTS (Jul 2021) % change from Jun 21 % change from Jul 20 HOUSES (Jul 2021) % change from Jun 21 % change from Jul 20
SYDNEY 30 days 2% slower 4% faster 22 days 3% slower 11% faster
MELBOURNE 34 days 20% faster 9% slower 23 days 12% faster 3% slower
BRISBANE 18 days 1% slower 32% faster 15 days 6% slower1 15% faster
PERTH 22 days 4% slower 6% faster 19 days No change 5% faster
ADELAIDE 21 days 6% slower 6% faster 16 days No change 12% faster
HOBART 14 days 15% faster 17% faster 16 days 14% faster 23% faster
DARWIN 22 days 15% slower 41% faster 20 days 17% slower 17% faster
CANBERRA 15 days 14% faster 31% faster 16 days 2% faster 13% faster
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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