Melbourne, Victoria: - Rental Data from September 2020

Rental property website has released its report for September 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. Rental Snapshot Highlights:

  • Restrictions in Melbourne are slowly easing, but the market has been hit by pressure from the latest lockdown. Apartments took 17% longer to lease than in August.
  • Demand in Victoria’s regional areas saw a 3% increase in regional median rent.
  • Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Melbourne, Hobart and Darwin all recorded 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
National median$4400%$4500%$2021%
Source: 2020
Read more: How long before my application is approved? - Rental Data from September 2020

Price trends in September 2020

Median rents.

Victoria’s continued lockdown has created unprecedented pressure on the Melbourne rental market. In September, there were 20% more properties on the market. Apartments took 17% longer to lease than in August, and 68% longer than at the same time last year.

Stephen Fitzsimon, head of business development for Melbourne Real Estate explained that during the second lockdown, they’d seen a 70% reduction in leasing stats across the business.

“Rents in the CBD, Southbank, Docklands and Carlton have been hit hardest through an increase in supply and a demand reduction,” he said. “Only those tenants who had to move were prepared to do so, relying on online video tours used by the agency in place of in-person inspections. Suburbs further out have been impacted less but were still impacted.”

With some restrictions now being eased for property inspections, the agency has seen an immediate increase in interest. “Our leasing team activated our booking system for tenants on Sunday, and by Tuesday had 462 tenants booked in to inspect properties over the next seven days. The market was waiting for the lockdown to end,” he added.

Regional demand across Victoria saw median rents increase by 3% to $340/week. On the other side of the country, the West Australian market has seen vacancy rates decrease with available properties falling by over 8% in September. Apartments leased 26% faster than the same time last year and houses 43% faster.

Both Perth apartment and house prices have increased by an average of $10/week, up 2.8% (apartments) and 2.5% for houses. However, the influx of new apartments entering the market has seen some downward pressure on apartment pricing.

Suzanne Brown, director at WA-based property management specialist RentWest said their listings were seeing strong competition in the market. “Conditions have continued to be good for property investors in Perth,” she said. “Investors are finally starting to see increases in weekly rent. We’re also enjoying the lowest vacancy rate we’ve seen in 12 years.”

The situation is reversed for Perth house hunters, as listing numbers drop and the demand for rental properties continues through the coronavirus crisis. “There isn’t a lot of stock around, but there are plenty of tenants looking for properties. Where properties are vacant, we’re seeing extremely high demand and those vacancies filling very quickly.”

Price per room.’s price per room metric offers another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia. Looking at the annual change from the September data, Hobart was the only metro capital to record a fall in room prices (houses), down 2.7%.

Perth remains the cheapest area for rooms in houses at $126/week, against $160/week for apartments in Adelaide. Areas with consistent changes across both property types year-on-year include Hobart (both down YoY) and in Canberra, where rents for both apartments and houses have risen.

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

Metro areaApartments% change from SEP 2019Houses% change from Sep-19
National median$260-1.90%$1500%
Source: 2020
Read more: Rental applications: How long before I’m approved? 

Regional rents.

Table 3: Regional rents in September 2020

State/TerritorySep-20% change from August '20
National median$3902.60%
Source: 2020

Rentals in the Northern Territory’s regions recorded the most significant price spike in September, climbing 7.1% to $450/week. The NT was just one of five states/territories to record an increase: Victoria’s regional rents were also up 3% to $340/week, and New South Wales jumped 2.5% to $410/week. South Australia’s regional rents rose 1.7% to $285/week, and regional rents were also up in Tasmania (1.5% to $335/week).

The highest regional rents in September 2020 were in the Northern Territory once again ($450/week), closely followed by New South Wales at $410/week. chief executive officer Greg Bader commented on the regional rent spikes: “The upward trend of rents in the regions is consistent with the trend of people seeking safe havens away from high-density inner-city areas. as COVID-19 changes the mindset of renters, and remote working provides the capacity for renters to work from the regions.”

Time on market.

Table 4: Time on market in September 2020

Metro areaAPARTMENT days on market SEP 2020% change from AUG 2020% change from SEP 2019HOUSES days on market SEP 2020% change from AUG 2020% change from SEP 2019
SYDNEY29 days3% faster4% slower21 days6% faster22% faster
MELBOURNE40 days17% slower68% slower21 days12% faster19% faster
BRISBANE27 daysno change29% slower15 days7% faster31% faster
PERTH22 days2% slower26% faster16 days6% faster43% faster
ADELAIDE20 days13% faster17% faster15 days10% faster23% faster
HOBART22 days7% faster55% slower15 days21% faster9% faster
DARWIN23 days22% faster16% faster19 days16% faster47% faster
CANBERRA22 days11% slower10% slower19 days4% faster14% faster
Source: 2020’s average time on market measure is designed to provide some context to the movement in median rents across Australia.

Darwin apartments saw the most change in September, leasing 22% faster, now 23 days. Houses in all metro capitals came off-market quicker month-on-month, with the most significant changes seen in Hobart (21% quicker – now 15 days) and Darwin (16% faster to 19 days).

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