How is the cost of renting changing in your city? has released the latest market data for May 2022, including the shift in median rent, price per room and leasing time.

In summary… ?

  • On average, Australia’s renters are shelling out around $460 a week to rent an apartment; for houses, the average is now $520
  • Median rents for both apartments and houses rose across the board in May, respectively, up by 2.2% and 1.9% month-on-month
  • According to new ABS data, renters, either renting from a private landlord or a state housing authority, now make up 31% of Australian households, a slight decrease from the 32% in 2017-18.

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

Metro areaAPARTMENTS% change monthlyHOUSES% change monthlyPRICE PER ROOM% change monthly
National median$4602.20%$5201.90%$2160.40%
Source: property listing data © 2022

Price trends (May 2022)

How median rents are changing ?

May was quite the month for property in Australia, and it remains a challenging time for renters across the nation – and not just those in the major capitals. Rents rose almost everywhere in the last month – places like Sydney and Melbourne haven’t seen much activity in a while, but they’re also starting to increase. There are fewer properties on the market, and more people are looking. With low volumes of new rental listings, there’s no immediate sign that things will ease back anytime soon.

So, what’s causing the issue? Many investors have backed out of the market – a problem likely to be exacerbated as borders reopen and more investors convert their homes into short-term accommodation instead of entering the traditional market. People who owned investment properties have sold since the pandemic, and often to owner-occupiers. Renters in share housing during COVID also realised they couldn’t work from home all the time with so many others and have left to seek their own homes. In short, a lot more people are seeking rental properties, and Australia’s rental pool is shallowing.

The country’s rental markets have been tightening, with vacancy rates for apartments and houses low. Property markets can resume their normal activities with the federal election now over. An absence of a significant policy for renters by both major parties throughout the election made news in May, along with a higher-than-expected interest rate rise at the start of the month.

New housing occupancy figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) were also released at the end of the month. Based on data from its Survey of Income and Housing, conducted from July 2019 to June 2020, the report provided several key insights into Australia’s relationship with property. Renters, either renting from a private landlord or a state housing authority, now make up 31% of Australian households, a slight decrease from the 32% in 2017-18.

Nationally, rents rose across the board for both apartments and houses in May. Looking at May’s median rent data, the most affordable metro capital was Adelaide, where apartment rents were $380 a week, despite a 1.2% decrease.

What will a room in a rental cost me? ?’s price per room measure offers another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia. Looking at the 12-month change in room prices, houses were the only property type to record an increase overall, up 9.5%. The cost of a room in a house rose in every metro area, with the most significant rise seen in Brisbane, up 13.3% to $170 a week.

Sydney apartments also recorded their first annual increase in room prices in three years (now $325 a week). Despite a fall in the median price per room for apartments, Melbourne also shot up by 16.7% annually to $262 a week.

The country’s most expensive rooms could be found in Canberra and Sydney apartments, with a price per room of $325 a week.

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

Metro areaPrice per room in May 2022Annual change from May 2021Price per room in May 2022Annual change from May 2021
National median$285-1.50%$1739.50%
Source: property listing data © 2022

How are the regions faring? ?

Regional migration’s been a big trend since the pandemic kicked off. The latest ABS figures show almost 25,000 people left Sydney for other parts of NSW in the year to March 2021.

In May, regional rents lifted slightly by 2.2% to $460 a week. Regional renters have needed to dedicate a higher proportion of their incomes towards rent than their capital city counterparts, which seems unlikely to change in the immediate future. Much of the regional growth has been in the areas adjacent to the major capital city boundaries.

Regional TAS led the pace of growth in May 2022, recording a month-on-month increase of 5%. TAS was one of just three states to record a rise but still significant enough to boost the national median by 2.2%. The NT remains the most expensive across Australia at $550 a week, compared to South Australia at $330 a week.

Table 3: Regional rents in May 2022

State/TerritoryMay 2022% change from Apr 2022
New South Wales$4902%
Western Australia$4500%
South Australia$330-2.9%
Northern Territory$5500%
Aus. Capital Territoryn/an/a
National median$4602.2%
Source: property listing data © 2022

How long are rentals taking to lease?’s average time on market measure is designed to explain the movement in median rents across Australia. After a nationwide slowdown in April, houses in all metro areas came off the market quicker in May. The 15 median days to lease a property in Canberra in May was 24% faster than in April – and the most significant change to time in market for both property types across the board.

Melbourne apartments stayed on market longest of all property types in May, averaging 24 days on before leasing. Apart from Perth, which slowed by 3% and Canberra (10%), apartments saw increased activity month-on-month.

Metro areaMay 2022Change from Apr 2022Change from May 2021May 2022Change from Apr 2022Change from May 2021
Sydney20 days6% faster29% faster10 days1% faster8% faster
Melbourne24 days9% faster43% faster21 days8% faster11% faster
Brisbane13 days11% faster37% faster15 days1% fasterNo change
Perth18 days3% slower11% faster15 days10% faster11% faster
Adelaide14 days5% faster29% faster15 days7% faster13% faster
Hobart15 days9% faster3% faster14 days18% faster11% faster
Darwin19 days13% faster35% faster17 days3% faster12% faster
Canberra17 days10% slower11% faster15 days24% faster8% faster
Source: property listing data © 2022

Have tenancy questions? Join the Rent Community