Rental property website Rent.com.au has released its report for June 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.
  • In June, Perth became the cheapest place in the country to rent an individual room across all dwelling types (apartments and houses) at $133/week, despite a 2.5% price increase year-on-year.
  • Darwin was the only metro capital where both apartment and house rents fell in June.
Table 1: Median rent (apartments v houses) and price per room
Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$5000%$6000%$2750%
MELBOURNE$4000%$4251.20%$1872.70%
BRISBANE$3953.30%$4351.20%$1655.30%
PERTH$3400%$3801.30%$1332.50%
ADELAIDE$3306.50%$3900%$1475.30%
HOBART$3808.60%$4500%$1829.50%
DARWIN$320-3%$435-3.30%$145-3.30%
CANBERRA$4500%$5500%$2252.20%
National median$4500%$4501.10%$2000%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
Read more: How long before my application is approved?

Price trends in June 2020

Median rents.

The property market, much like the economy, has been hit by a mix of COVID-19 restrictions and job losses Australia-wide. With signs of higher vacancies in capitals like Sydney and Melbourne, there has been plenty of attention given to weaker rental market conditions. As with most things, however, there has been plenty of variance between the country’s metro areas – and June saw some upward shifts in prices in many metro capitals.

People are still applying for properties, but not in the same volumes as pre-COVID-19. Unsurprisingly demand remains affected by continued restrictions on domestic and international travel. Yet, with restrictions lifting in most states and territories (Victoria aside), we will start to see renters returning to the market. For those who remain financially secure, there may be opportunities to negotiate rent reductions in areas where rents are now falling.

Of course, this period has not been simple for investors: the fall in rental income, a drop in Airbnb demand, and inward migration has played a role there. For investors looking to get in a foot in the market, it is worth avoiding short-term trends and going back to macro drivers and considering the long-term before investing. The higher education sector, as an example, is facing some challenges around international students. Each capital city has pockets of investment properties which are targeted at these students. But when will these students be able to return, and will they return in the same volumes? A shift to online learning especially could have a longer-term impact on foreign student numbers.

State and territory capital median rents held up relatively well in June, considering the changes to the market and ongoing COVID-19. There were even gradual improvements in some capitals. Darwin was the only metro capital to see a consistent fall in median rents month-on-month. Apartment rents were down 3% against a 3.3% fall in house rents in June.

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. Perth room prices remained stable in June, holding the title as the cheapest metro area to rent an individual room in a house, at $120/week. Canberra sits on the top end of prices at $335/week for an apartment room.

The 12-month change in price per room showed Hobart had the most notable jump in apartment room prices, down 24% to $190/week. 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 JUN 2019Houses% change from Jun-19
SYDNEY$300-3.20%$2002.60%
MELBOURNE$245-6.70%$1401.80%
BRISBANE$220-2.20%$1391.20%
PERTH$192-3.90%$1202.90%
ADELAIDE$1650%$1313.90%
HOBART$190-24%$1620%
DARWIN$1704.60%$1505.40%
CANBERRA$3358.10%$1909.60%
National median$265-1.90%$1471.70%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020

Regional rents.

Regional Northern Territory was the most unaffordable across the country for the average renter in June. Rental prices in the territory’s outlying regions were $450/week, following a 2.2% rise in rents.

Western Australia was the only state to record a decrease in its regional median rent, down 2.8% to $340/week. Prices were up in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, and Northern Territory in June.

Table 3: Regional rents in June 2020
State/TerritoryJun-20% change from May ‘20
NSW$4000%
VIC$3300%
QLD$3852.60%
WA$340-2.80%
SA$2903.50%
TAS$3303.10%
NT$4502.20%
ACTn/an/a
National median$3801.30%
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
Read more: Rental applications: How long before I’m approved for a property? 

Time on market.

Apartments on the market slowed across the board in June, with properties taking longer to lease in all metro areas bar Brisbane and Canberra. Brisbane apartments were least affected, leasing 3% faster in June, now 28 days.

For houses, however, conditions were a little different. By and large, house rentals moved off the market faster month-on-month, with the most noticeable improvement also in Brisbane (19% faster to 21 days) and 11% faster in Melbourne and Perth.

Table 4: Time on market in June 2020

Metro areaAPARTMENT days on market JUN 2020% change from MAY 2020% change from JUN 2019HOUSES days on market JUN 2020% change from MAY 2020% change from JUN 2019
SYDNEY31 days4% slower8% slower26 days8% faster11% faster
MELBOURNE33 days11% slower44% slower25 days11% faster3% faster
BRISBANE28 days3% faster47% slower21 days19% faster9% faster
PERTH28 days12% faster10% faster24 days11% faster23% faster
ADELAIDE26 days7% slower13% slower21 days6% faster12% faster
HOBART30 days55% slower113% slower24 days4% faster43% slower
DARWIN44 days34% slower33% slower41 days2% slower5% slower
CANBERRA23 days1% faster1% faster22 days8% faster1% faster
Source: Rent.com.au 2020
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