Rental property website Rent.com.au has released its report for February 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:

  • In the past 6 months, the Northern Territory has recorded a 56% decrease in its vacancy rate, as supply struggles to keep pace with demand for rental housing.
  • Darwin apartments recorded the most significant change in median rent in February 2021, affected by falls in median rents for both property types.
  • Median rents were consistently up in Sydney, Perth and Hobart month-on-month for both apartments and houses.

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

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$4801.00%$6203%$2652%
MELBOURNE$3800%$432-2.20%$190-2.50%
BRISBANE$4100.00%$4700.60%$182-1.60%
PERTH$3801.30%$4402.30%$1603%
ADELAIDE$3501.40%$4200%$1530%
HOBART$4024.90%$4953.10%$1901.60%
DARWIN$370-8%$550-3.50%$1750.00%
CANBERRA$470-5.00%$6001%$236-4.40%
National median$4200.00%$4751%$2050.00%
Source: Rent.com.au property data 2021
Read more: How long before my application is approved?

Price trends in February 2021

Median rents.

National rent values continued to rise in February, particularly for houses, where the average median rent was up 1% from one month ago. According to the latest Rent.com.au data, the increase in national median rent values was largely driven by capitals Sydney, Perth and Hobart, which saw rent rises for both property types.

Greg Bader, CEO at Rent.com.au said a change in living preferences and for space to move through COVID-19 could be partially responsible for the demand for houses.

“While investor demand has gravitated towards houses in some areas, people’s lifestyle preferences have started to shift. For some of the key capitals where demand and supply remain imbalanced, it’s possible that apartments will continue to underperform compared to houses.

Despite some promising movements in key capitals, Mr Bader said the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 would likely be felt for months to come. “Tenant demand for inner-city rentals may continue to be affected by the closure of Australia’s international border,” he said.

“In Darwin, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, it has been well reported that some tenants have felt compelled to offer more than the asking rental price to secure new housing. The pressure on the rental market and the competitive nature of that market has meant many tenants have struggled to find long-term accommodation.”

Eviction and rent protections will expire at the end of March, making this coming month pivotal for renters in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia – but also for landlords, who may be hit by the end of bankruptcy pauses. Over in Victoria, where a slew of new reforms will introduce additional protections against evictions, negotiable rent reductions and a pause on increases will expire on March 28.

Price per room.

Rent.com.au’s price per room metric offers another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia.

Houses saw the most significant shift in room costs annually, with upward movement in all states and territories – Perth (up 14.6%), Darwin (up 12.1%) and Hobart (up 11.1%) topped the list.

Rooms in apartments are cheaper than they were a year ago in Melbourne, Hobart, and Canberra.

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

Metro areaApartments% change from FEB 2020Houses% change from Feb-20
SYDNEY$3000.00%$2105.00%
MELBOURNE$226-9%$1498.00%
BRISBANE$2303.40%$1466.00%
PERTH$22010.00%$13714.60%
ADELAIDE$1752.90%$1438.90%
HOBART$213-1.70%$18311.10%
DARWIN$1813.80%$15412.10%
CANBERRA$322-0.80%$19810.10%
Source: Rent.com.au property data 2021
Read more: Rental applications: How long before I’m approved? 

Regional rents.

Regional Northern Territory was the most unaffordable across the country for the average renter in February 2021.

Prices for rentals in the territory’s outlying regions averaged $467/week, following a 7.5% rise in the median regional rent. Other states/territories to record an increase included Tasmania (up 5.9% to $360/week) and New South Wales, where rents rose by 2.4% to $430/week.

South Australia, and Queensland also recorded a fall in the median rent, month-on-month, down 6.7% and 1.3% respectively. No change was recorded in Victoria or Western Australia in February 2021.

Table 3: Regional rents in February 2021

State/TerritoryFeb-21% change from Jan '21
NSW$4302%
VIC$3500%
QLD$395-1.30%
WA$3800%
SA$280-6.70%
TAS$3605.90%
NT$4677.50%
ACTn/an/a
National median$4000%
Source: Rent.com.au property data 2021

Time on market.

Table 4: Time on market in February 2021

Metro areaAPARTMENT days on market FEB 2021% change from JAN 2021% change from FEB 2020HOUSES days on market FEB 2021% change from JAN 2021% change from FEB 2020
SYDNEY27 days29% faster3% slower21 days24% faster21% faster
MELBOURNE38 days21% faster79% slower25 days16% faster4.7% slower
BRISBANE20 days6% faster4% slower15 days11% faster33% faster
PERTH20 days7% faster26% faster17 days10% faster22% faster
ADELAIDE20 days13% faster0.5% slower16 days6% faster20% faster
HOBART18 days23% slower38% slower17 days6% faster10% faster
DARWIN18 days10% faster49% faster18 days14% faster48% faster
CANBERRA17 days6% faster6% faster15 days22% faster32% faster
Source: Rent.com.au property data 2021

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure is designed to provide some context to the movement in median rents across Australia.

Of all metro areas, Sydney was the one to record the most significant change to time on market, month-on-month.

Apartments leased quickest in the NSW capital in February, coming off market in 27 days (29% faster).

Year-on-year, the metro capital to record the greatest change was Melbourne, today taking 79% longer (now 21 days) to move an apartment than it did in February 2020

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