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

  • Darwin apartments recorded the most significant upward shift in median rents in May, with prices up 5.5% to $380/week.
  • Perth’s vacancy rate has improved slightly in the last month but remained just above record lows.
  • Queensland and the Northern Territory markets face an ongoing rental squeeze with high demand challenging low supply levels, which is keeping vacancies low.

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

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$4700%$6000%$250-3.80%
MELBOURNE$360-2.70%$430-2%$183-3.60%
BRISBANE$4102.50%$470-1%$1802.80%
PERTH$3952.50%$4500%$156-2.50%
ADELAIDE$3400%$410-2.30%$150-1.30%
HOBART$4000%$495-1%$185-0.50%
DARWIN$3805.50%$5603.70%$1760.50%
CANBERRA$4650%$6005.20%$229-5.30%
National median$4100%$4700%$2000%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021.

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Price trends in May 2021

Median rents.

Twelve months ago, the country emerged from national lockdowns, and Australians began returning from overseas, causing a surge in rental demand. While rental demand is now lower than it was back in January’s peak rental season, the level of demand is still higher than before the global pandemic.

But Australia’s inner-city markets have struggled since borders were first closed to international students, visitors and people seeking holiday work.

The recent Federal Budget was built on the assumption that the country’s international borders would remain closed until mid-2022, so it seems unlikely there will be any immediate relief on this front.

Rent’s May report showed that Melbourne and Sydney’s inner-city markets remain weak, with rents still falling or stable.

Market conditions remain diverse, with differences still evident between the regions and the housing types. Right now, the country’s tightest markets are Darwin, Perth and Queensland, where vacancies are still high, and apartment and unit rents are recording growth.

The May 2021 data from Rent.com.au show Australia’s rental market is slowly continuing its recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apartment and house rents remained unchanged in May, despite some small fluctuations between property types.

Price per room.

Rent.com.au’s price per room measure is another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia. Looking at the 12-month change in room prices, both apartments and houses recorded price increases in May, up 1% and 1.5%, respectively. The most significant shifts in room costs were in apartments; rents were up in Hobart (12.9% to $380/week), in Darwin (11.2% to $236/week) and Canberra (up 8.6% to $210/week).

The country’s most expensive room prices remain in Darwin for apartments at $380/week and Sydney for houses ($213/week).

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

Metro areaApartments% change from MAY 2020Houses% change from May-20
SYDNEY$3103.30%$2131.20%
MELBOURNE$2333.70%$1430%
BRISBANE$225-2.20%$1500%
PERTH$225-2.20%$1400%
ADELAIDE$173-1.40%$138-2.40%
HOBART$23611.20%$173-0.60%
DARWIN$38014.30%$193-1.70%
CANBERRA$2108.60%$1733.50%
National median$2631%$1591.50%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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Regional rents.

Were you renting in the top end? Despite a 6% price drop, Rent’s May data showed that rentals in the Northern Territory’s regions remained least affordable across Australia. The median rent for a property in the NT was $470/week in May.

The NT was one of just two areas to record a price drop, including South Australia (down 1.6% to $295/week). Rents in all other states/territories jumped month-on-month, with the most significant change in Western Australia, up 5% to $420/week. The most affordable regional properties in May continue to be found in South Australia.

Table 3: Regional rents in May 2021

State/TerritoryMay-21% change from APR 2021
NSW$4400%
VIC$3600%
QLD$4153.70%
WA$4205%
SA$295-1.60%
TAS$3802.70%
NT$470-6%
ACTn/an/a
National median$4100%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

Time on market.

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure is designed to provide context to the movement in median rents across Australia. Considering the 12 months to May 2021, rentals across almost all of Australia are staying on the market for less time.

The biggest change can be seen in Darwin, where rentals lasted an average of 14 days before shifting, 56% faster than in May 2020. Properties in Perth have finally shown some signs of a slowdown, with a 2% increase in time on market to 20 days.

The most noticeable slowing was in Adelaide houses, where rentals took around 17 days to move in May, 6% longer than in April.

Table 4: Time on market in May 2021

Metro areaAPARTMENTS (May 2021)% change from Apr 21% change from May 20HOUSES (May 2021)% change from Apr 21% change from May 20
SYDNEY28 days15% faster6% faster22 days12% faster22% faster
MELBOURNE42 daysNo change41% slower24 days14% faster15% faster
BRISBANE21 days5% faster26% faster15 days6% faster42% faster
PERTH20 days2% slower36% faster17 days3% faster37% faster
ADELAIDE20 days4% faster16% faster17 days6% slower23% faster
HOBART15 days26% faster21% faster16 days19% faster37% faster
DARWIN14 days30% faster56% faster20 days1% faster51% faster
CANBERRA19 days2% slower18% faster17 days2% slower27% faster
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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