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

In summary… 📜

  • Vacancies did a small swing around in April, with the number of available rentals up by 1.1% month-on-month. The biggest increases were recorded in the ACT (12.4%) and TAS (11.4%). Increases were also noted in the NT (up 5.9%), NSW (up 4.5%) and WA (up 2.6%). In April, the remaining states also saw minor improvements, except for VIC, where listings were down by 0.5%. Compared to April 2021, listing availability remains 34% down.
  • On average, Australia’s renters are shelling out around $450 a week to rent an apartment; for houses, the average is now $510.

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

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$5000%$6672.30%$2802.90%
MELBOURNE$4000%$4500%$190-1%
BRISBANE$4400%$5501.90%$193-1%
PERTH$4200%$4901.70%$173-1.80%
ADELAIDE$375-1.30%$4804.30%$1755.40%
HOBART$4302.40%$525-3.70%$2000%
DARWIN$4500%$6103.40%$195-2.50%
CANBERRA$520-1%$670-1%$245-2%
National median$4500%$500-2%$2151.40%
Source: Rent.com.au rental data (2022)

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Price trends (April 2022)

How median rents are changing 👇

In late March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comment that “the best way to support people renting a house is to help them buy a house” instigated much contention and conversation. At the time, the PM was responding to a question from the Today Show about why the federal budget hadn’t done more for renters. It made for an unusual question because renters typically get far less heed from politicians and media than their homeowner counterparts – and this is despite them making up about a third (and rising) share of the country’s population.

A study released in April by the Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS) also examined how our governments dealt with COVID-19 from a housing perspective. “Income support did more to absorb the income shock of the pandemic, to a significant extend letting housing policy, and especially, landlords, off the hook,” the report said. “Restrictions on evictions and rent increases were lifted, just as many regions were seeing a major escalation in rents and tightening availability.” The report added that this strengthened the sense that housing policy objectives around affordability, security and prevention of homelessness were still lower priorities than maintenance of housing asset values, rent revenues and loan serviceability.

While rising expectations that the Reserve Bank will soon start to lift interest rates – and keep raising them for the next few years – to stem inflation, housing issues have been slow to become a focus of the upcoming federal election campaign. The Greens have promised an ambitious 1 million more low-cost homes. The ALP’s key focus is 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties over the first five years. The Coalition, meanwhile, is pushing for homeownership while also seeking to ‘incentivise’ regional home construction.

Affordability continues to be a critical factor affecting market conditions across Australia. The rising cost of living has made it harder for people hoping to move out of the rental market into homeownership. Cost of living issues alone suggests that more coverage on rents is warranted.

The well-publicised outflow of city folk to the regions during the COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard on locals. Regionals rents have increased in the last two years, and in some cases, at double the increase in the state capitals.

Looking at April’s median rent data, the most affordable metro capital was Adelaide, where apartment rents were $385 a week, despite a 1.3% increase month-on-month.

What will a room in a rental cost me? 💰

Rent.com.au’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, apartments and houses recorded a slight but noticeable shift in room prices, up 3% and 2%, respectively.

Looking at apartments, room prices were up in all states and territories in April 2022, except for Sydney apartments, which fell by 4.2% to $311 a week. The most significant cost shifts were Canberra apartments (up 26.9% to $413 a week), Melbourne apartments (down 4.2% to $311 a week) and Darwin apartments, up 5.5% to $225 a week.

The country’s most expensive rooms could be found in Canberra apartments, with a price per room of $342 a week.

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

Metro areaApartments% change from APR 2021Houses% change from APR 2021
SYDNEY$311-4.20%$2250%
MELBOURNE$2656%$1500%
BRISBANE$2500%$1734%
PERTH$2500%$1551.10%
ADELAIDE$2000%$1600%
HOBART$2505.30%$184-3.90%
DARWIN$2255.50%$190-0.40%
CANBERRA$41326.90%$210-3.10%
National median$2833%$1732%
Source: Rent.com.au rental data (2022)

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How are the regions faring? 🌳

In April, regional rents remained relatively stable with a slight lift to the national median (1.3% to $453 a week). But while there are signs that the growth in the cost of housing in the regions could be slowing, it’s unlikely to be of much to help to anyone experiencing rental stress right now. Affordability is becoming a hurdle, and with the prospect of interest rates moving higher, borrowing capacity will also be affected for any renters currently saving for a home deposit.

The bulk of government programs designed to boost the stock of social and affordable housing has focused heavily on the metropolitan areas. This will need to be an area of focus in the upcoming federal election on Saturday, 21 May to effect more significant change.

Regional NT led the pace of growth in April 2022, recording a monthly increase of 1.8%. It was the only state to record an increase month-on-month. In April, regional rents in TAS were down 2.3% to $410 a week. The NT remains the least affordable of all states and territories, with the median rent tipping $540 a week.

Table 3: Regional rents in April 2022

State/TerritoryApr-22% change from Mar-2022
NSW$4800%
VIC$3800%
QLD$4700%
WA$4500%
SA$3400%
TAS$410-2.30%
NT$5401.80%
ACTn/an/a
National median$4500%
Source: Rent.com.au rental data (2022)

How long are rentals taking to lease? 

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure is designed to explain the movement in median rents across Australia. The 16 days median time to rent a Hobart apartment in April this year was 32% faster than last month – and the most significant change to time on market of all state and territory capitals.

Melbourne apartments stayed on market longest of all property types, averaging 26 days on Rent.com.au before leasing. Except for Darwin, which remained unchanged, all key metro areas recorded a slowdown month on month in April.

Metro areaAPARTMENTS (Apr ‘22)% change from Mar '22% change from Apr '21HOUSES (Apr ‘22)% change from Mar '22% change from Apr '21
SYDNEY21 days2% slower36% faster20 days1% slower18% faster
MELBOURNE26 days12% slower37% faster23 days9% slower17% faster
BRISBANE14 days3% slower36% faster15 days1% slower6% faster
PERTH18 days11% slower10% faster17 days14% slower4% faster
ADELAIDE15 days15% slower30% faster15 days13% slower2% faster
HOBART16 days32% slower19% faster17 days20% slower11% faster
DARWIN22 days29% slower9% slower18 daysNo change10% faster
CANBERRA15 days4% faster20% faster20 days20% slower20% slower
Source: Rent.com.au rental data (2022)
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