Rental property website Rent.com.au has released its report for July 2020, 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:

  • As restrictions begin to ease across the country, rents in some metro areas have begun to slowly improve.
  • Perth remains the only metro capital where house rents are under $400/week, now a median $385/week

  • Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth were the only three metro capitals to record an increase in the national rental price per room (apartments and houses combined)
Table 1: Median rent (apartments v houses) and price per room
Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$5000%$6000%$267-2.9%
MELBOURNE$4000%$4403.5%$1901.6%
BRISBANE$4001.3%$430-1.1%$1703.0%
PERTH$3502.9%$3851.3%$1373.0%
ADELAIDE$3300%$4002.6%$143-2.7%
HOBART$360-5.3%$4602.2%$173-4.9%
DARWIN$3200%$4503.4%$1503.4%
CANBERRA$4704.4%$5571.3%$220-2.2%
National median$440-2.2%$4500%$2000%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
Read more: How long before my application is approved?

Price trends in July 2020

Median rents.

On reflection, it’s hard to believe we’re halfway through 2020. Despite a world pandemic, the country slipping into a recession and so much social unrest, our property markets have shown considerable resilience.

It’s no surprise that Australia’s rental markets have been and continue to be affected by COVID-19. For one, prospective tenants are not as active in the market at present as they once were.

Concerns around housing stability have pushed some into sharing with friends, while others have returned to the comfort of their parents home. At the same time, more properties have become available for lease following the collapse of short-term rentals (Airbnb) and a drop in students looking for rental accommodation.

Sydney and Melbourne, in particular, have seen higher vacancy rates in apartments around their respective CBDs.

State and territory capital median rents held up relatively well in July, considering the changes to the market and ongoing COVID-19 crisis – particularly in states like Victoria. There were consistent price increases across both dwelling types in Melbourne, Perth and Canberra month-on-month. Perth remains the only metro capital where house rents are under $400/week, now a median $385/week.

Read more: How to write a rent reduction letter

Price per room

Rent.com.au’s price per room metric offers another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia for people looking to share a home and save money.

Despite a 7.2% room price fall, Darwin held the July title for the cheapest metro area to rent an individual room in an apartment at $152/week. Perth had the cheapest rooms in houses at $123/week, despite a 5.7% jump in prices year-on-year.

The areas where both property types saw consistent change included Canberra, where both apartment and house rents jumped. Canberra also recorded the most significant price change year-on-year with apartments, up 13.3% to $320/week.

On the other side, both Adelaide and Darwin recorded price falls for both property types.

Rent.com.au chief executive officer, Greg Bader said that given most reported property data has been developed for the property owner (i.e. dwelling price), it was essential to have an individual measurement that looked at a room price breakdown. “Our price per room metric is a different way to look at the cost of renting,” he said. “It’s a more accurate representation for people wanting to share a home with others.”

Table 2: 12-month change in price per room (Apartments versus Houses)
Metro areaApartments% change from JUL 2019Houses% change from Jul-19
SYDNEY$300-2.40%$2001.30%
MELBOURNE$240-5.60%$1370%
BRISBANE$215-4.10%$1403.70%
PERTH$182-6.40%$1235.70%
ADELAIDE$162-4.40%$126-2.60%
HOBART$2430.90%$160-3%
DARWIN$152-7.10%$132-5.50%
CANBERRA$32013.30%$1868.50%
National median$260-3.70%$1462%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020

Regional rents.

Regional New South Wales rentals stepped up price-wise to contest the Northern Territory for ‘most affordable’ across Australia in July.

Both NSW and NT recorded a median rent of $400. For the NT, this meant an 11.1% price drop month-on-month. South Australia was the only other state to record a decrease in regional rents in July, down 8.6% to $265/week.

Prices were up in Tasmania (2.9% to $350/week) and Western Australia (up 3% to $340/week) in July.

Table 3: Regional rents in July 2020
State/TerritoryJul-20% change from June ‘20
NSW$4000%
VIC$3300%
QLD$3850%
WA$3502.90%
SA$265-8.60%
TAS$3403%
NT$400-11.10%
ACTn/an/a
National median$3800%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
Read more: Rental applications: How long before I’m approved for a property? 

Time on market.

Both apartments and houses on the market moved quicker across the board in July, with properties taking less time to lease in all metro areas.

Hobart apartments saw the most change last month, leasing 44% faster in July, now 17 days. For houses, rentals in the Darwin area moved quickest, a 39% shift month-on-month to 24 days.

Year-on-year, however, conditions were a little more varied. Despite improvements since June, apartments have slowed across the board in all metro capitals, bar Canberra, which saw rentals come off market 3% quicker from June 2019 (now 22 days).

Table 4: Time on market in July 2020

Metro areaAPARTMENT days on market JUL 2020% change from JUN 2020% change from JUL 2019HOUSES days on market JUL 2020% change from JUN 2020% change from JUL 2019
SYDNEY31 days0% change8% slower24 days5% faster14% faster
MELBOURNE31 days6% faster40% slower22 days11% faster15% faster
BRISBANE26 days5% faster38% slower18 days14% faster19% faster
PERTH23 days17% faster26% faster20 days17% faster34% faster
ADELAIDE22 days14% faster2% slower18 days10% faster17% faster
HOBART17 days44% faster16% slower21 days12% faster10% slower
DARWIN38 days15% faster16% slower24 days39% faster30% faster
CANBERRA22 days3% faster1% faster18 days19% faster22% faster
Source: Rent.com.au 2020