Photo: iStock/moisseyev.

Property leasing data released by rent.com.au for the month of December illustrates the shift in Australian median rental property prices (both metro and regional) and rental affordability (the median room price metric).

Key points

  • Despite an initial outlook for rental relief in Sydney (November 2017), house prices in the New South Wales capital were back up in December to $630/week (+1.61%)
  • Four out of eight Australian capitals (Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Perth) recorded a downward annual change in median rents, relative to December 2016.
  • Regional rents on the rise in VIC, NSW, TAS and the NT; the steepest in VIC (+1.75% to $290/week).
  • Adelaide’s apartments are some of the cheapest around the country; median rents now $290/week (down 3.33%), but the most affordable (price per room) were in Perth at $116/week.

Median rents

In summing up the December rental market, Rent.com.au’s latest data release shows a market in transition, but still quite diverse as we saw rental prices largely drop month-on-month.

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$535↓1.83%$630↑1.61%$265↓1.85%
MELBOURNE$4000%$4100%$167↓1.47%
BRISBANE$380↓2.56%$410↓2.38%$150↓3.23%
PERTH$310↑3.33%$350↓2.77%$116↓2.78%
ADELAIDE$290↓3.33%$3670%$135↑2.53%
HOBART$3200%$395↓1.25%$146↓5.24%
DARWIN$350↓4.11%$480↓4%$166↑4.17%
CANBERRA$435↑3.57%$492↓3.43%$182↓6.41%
National Median$440$440$4250%$175↓1.87%

The sharpest transition from November through to December occurred in Darwin, which recorded a fall in median rent by 4.11% for apartments (now $350/week) and 4% for houses (now $480/week). Most other capital cities also saw rental values decline in the month, with the exception being Sydney (house prices up 1.6% to $630/week), Canberra (apartment prices up 3.6% to $435/week) and in Perth, where rents rose 3.3% to $310/week.

Although Perth rental values were relatively low or declining (particularly for apartments) over the year, Rent.com.au’s data records a subtle transition towards some growth in the market towards late 2017, with Perth median rents (apartments) up 3.33%, the strongest rate of growth since its last rise in August when prices rose 3.2% to $320/week.

Diversity in the market was evident in the overall decline in house prices over the past month, with prices falling for the first time since August in Darwin (-4%) and Hobart (-1.3%). Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Perth were the only four cities to see the annual change in median rents now lower in December 2017 relative to December 2016.

Regional rent growth steady across most of Australia

StateNOVDEC% change
NSW$385$390↑1.29%
VIC$285$290↑1.75%
QLD$360$3600%
WA$330$3300%
SA$275$270↓1.81%
TAS$270$272↑0.7%
NT$450$455↑1.11%
ACTunavail.unavail.unavail.
National Median$350$360↑2.85%

The latest Rent.com.au monthly market snapshot revealed that while rental growth remained relatively steady across most parts of regional Australia, South Australia saw property values languish; rents dropped 1.81% over the month. Median rents in most other states, however, recorded increases: Victoria up 1.75%, New South Wales up 1.29%, Northern Territory up 1.11% and Tasmania up 0.7%.

The December 2017 regional results for the month showed similar alignment with data between Q1 and Q4 2017; improvements in NSW (+1.29%), SA (+5.88%) and VIC (+1.78%). Western Australia was the only state to record a decrease year-on-year, down 1.49%.

Houses move faster in some of the country’s key capitals

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% change
SYDNEY22↑5%21↓4.5%
MELBOURNE20.9↓3.6%21.3↓2.6%
BRISBANE27.8↑6.4%26.7↑6%
PERTH38.4↓8%34.8↓4.7%
ADELAIDE28.9↑31.1%21.7↑2.2%
HOBART11.7↑6.2%13.7↑4.5%
DARWIN40.4↑13.3%38.8↑39.2%
CANBERRA17.11%15.9↓1.5%

A few of the country’s larger capitals saw a decline in the time rental properties spent on market in December – houses in Melbourne were on market 21.4 days, in Perth 34.8 days and in Sydney, just 21 days. The drop is consistent with the shift in rental searches come December / January as tenants are on the move; with school finishing in early December, the break provides families with an opportunity to start packing and moving to a new house.

Apartment prices, conversely, recorded a slowdown in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Sydney, with the steepest slowdown in Adelaide, 31% up to 29 days from 22.1 in November.

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