December 2019

Rental property website Rent.com.au has released its report for December 2019, 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:

  • The cost of renting a room in a house rose in all capitals, year-on-year, with the most significant change noted in Darwin – up 8.9% to $152/week.
  • Canberra was the only capital city to record a rise in the median rent for apartments in December, up 2.2% to $470/week.
  • The biggest shift month-on-month in the five largest states was in Adelaide, where median rents fell 4.7% to $305/week (apartments) and houses rose by 3.9% to $395/week.
  • Apartments in Sydney, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra slowed month-on-month and year-on-year, likely resulting from rising rents in these areas in 2019.

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Table 1: Median rent (apartments v houses) and price per room
Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
SYDNEY$500-2%$5950%$255-4.30%
MELBOURNE$4150%$4300%$1801.80%
BRISBANE$4000%$4502.30%$1653.10%
PERTH$325-1.50%$3802.70%$1310.90%
ADELAIDE$305-4.70%$3953.90%$1401.80%
HOBART$375-6.30%$4904.80%$181-2%
DARWIN$330-2.90%$50011.10%$1500%
CANBERRA$4702.20%$5601.80%$2151.10%
National median$4500%$4500%$1900%

Price trends in December 2019

Median rents.

In December 2019, just one capital city saw an increase in apartment prices – Canberra median rents rose 2.2% to $470/week. Despite the rise, only Melbourne and Brisbane were unchanged, while the remainder of the state/territory capitals saw prices fall. Rent.com.au’s latest data records Sydney finished the year as the most unaffordable capital for both houses and apartments, contended only by Canberra and Hobart.

Across the country, national median rents were unchanged for both property types, but some marketing tightening became clearer for houses as we moved towards the rental market’s busier season, with asking median rents (houses) up in Darwin (11.1%), Hobart (4.8%), Adelaide (3.9%), Perth (2.7%), Brisbane (2.3%) and Canberra (1.8%).

Despite the upward movement in these capitals, some relief could be felt for tenants in Sydney searching for apartments, with a fall finally recorded in the median rent – down 2% to $500/week. The largest fall in apartment prices in December was in Hobart, down 6.3% to $375/week. South Australian capital Adelaide recorded its first fall in apartment rents since April 2019, dropping 4.7% to $305/week.

Sydney, Canberra and Darwin finished the year as the country’s most expensive capital, now the three metro areas with rents over $500/week.

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Price per room in December 2019

The cost of renting a room in Australia increased year-on-year in December 2019, with a rise in both apartment and house rents nationally. The national median for apartments in Australia’s metro areas was $262/week in December 2019, up 5% from December 2018, while house room prices rose 3.4% nationally to $150/week.

Across the state and territory capitals, the most price movement for apartments was in Melbourne – an 8% increase year-on-year, with rooms now priced at $270/week. The most significant fall (apartments) was in Hobart, where the cost of a room dropped by 18.7% to $176/week. The cost of renting a room in a house rose in all capitals, year-on-year, with the most significant change noted in Darwin – up 8.9% to $152/week.

Table 2: Price per room (Apartments versus Houses)
Metro areaApartments% change from DEC 2018Houses% change from Dec-18
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
SYDNEY$3104.20%$1961.70%
MELBOURNE$2708%$1508.40%
BRISBANE$221-1.60%$1476.60%
PERTH$2005.20%$1257.10%
ADELAIDE$1653.10%$1333.20%
HOBART$176-18.70%$1727.80%
DARWIN$155-10.30%$1528.90%
CANBERRA$3353.30%$1833.70%
National median$2625%$1503.40%

Regional rents.

The regions saw a mix of trends in December 2019, despite median rents staying reasonably level. The biggest changes were recorded in Tasmania (up 7.8% to $345/week), New South Wales (up 5% to $272/week) and Western Australia (up 2.8% to $360/week). Falls were seen in the Northern Territory (down 11.5% to $420/week) and in South Australia (down 2.6% to $272/week).

Rentals were most expensive in NSW and the NT in December (both $420/week), against Victoria taking the most affordable regional prices at $330/week.

Table 3: Regional rents in December 2019
State/TerritoryDec-19% change from Nov ‘19
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
NSW$4205%
VIC$3300%
QLD$3800%
WA$3602.80%
SA$272-2.60%
TAS$3457.80%
NT$420-11.50%
ACTunavailunavail
National median$3851.30%

Time on market.

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure provides context to the movement in asking median rents across the country. The most noticeable shift month-on-month (from November to December 2019) was in Canberra. Apartments moved off market 23% slower in December, taking 18 days on average to move. Perth houses, conversely, came off rent.com.au 3% faster in December, an average of 25 days to lease.

Looking at the change in apartments, it was only Melbourne that saw apartment time on market improve in December, down 1% to 23 days. Apartments in Sydney, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra slowed month-on-month and year-on-year, likely resulting from rising rents in 2019.

Table 4: Days on market in December 2019
Metro areaAPARTMENT days on market DEC 2019% change from NOV 2019% change from DEC 2018HOUSES days on market DEC 2019% change from NOV 2019% change from DEC 2018
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
SYDNEY28 days3% slower4% slower26 daysno change5% faster
MELBOURNE23 days1% faster4% slower23 days2% faster4% slower
BRISBANE21 daysno change6% faster22 days4% slower1% faster
PERTH30 days8% slower11% faster25 days3% faster13% faster
ADELAIDE19 days19% slower18% faster20 daysno change8% faster
HOBART14 days9% slower9% slower15 days7% slower15% slower
DARWIN42 days21% slower2% slower32 days8% slower4% faster
CANBERRA18 days23% slower6% slower20 days11% slower24% slower

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