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

  • Despite falls in some areas, median house rents were still up by 1% nationally in September, now $480/week.
  • Room prices jumped by 22% year-on-year in Darwin to $183/week.
  • Sydney is home to the most expensive apartments and houses for renters, at $490 and $630 per week.

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

Metro areaApartments% changeHouses% changePrice per room% change
SYDNEY$4901.00%$630-3.10%$2701.90%
MELBOURNE$3650.00%$4300%$1800.00%
BRISBANE$4202%$5001.00%$180-1.70%
PERTH$395-1.30%$4500%$1600%
ADELAIDE$3500.00%$4402%$1591.30%
HOBART$395-1.30%$530-1.90%$1956.00%
DARWIN$4402.30%$6003.40%$1930.00%
CANBERRA$4653%$5206.10%$2402.10%
National median$4200.00%$4801%$2000%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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Price trends in September 2021

Median rents.

As lockdowns look to lift next month in some states, we could expect to see a fall in rental vacancy rates and restrictions fall away. Vacancies in regional areas may also start to rise once renters feel it’s safe to return to the cities. This should mean increased rental demand from returning Australians.

That said, the last 18 months has likely created permanent change in the way Australians live and work, so there will probably be ongoing demand for regional living and larger properties – houses over apartments.

Another factor affecting affordability is that household incomes have seen little to no increase in the past 12-18 months. Renters will likely start looking towards higher density rental options, where renting is often more affordable.

But which capital city is most affordable for renters? It doesn’t look like this group will get a reprieve from increasing prices anytime soon; most predictions suggest rents will rise nationally for the foreseeable future.

In September, the average weekly asking price for rents across all capital cities was $420 for apartments and $480 for houses. Sydney is home to the most expensive apartments and houses for renters, at $490 and $630 per week. However, the most affordable metro capital, in terms of weekly asking prices, is Adelaide for apartments ($350/week) and Melbourne for houses ($430/week).

Price per room.

Rent.com.au’s price per room measure offers another way to look at the cost of renting in Australia. Looking at the 12-month change to room prices, both apartments and houses recorded fairly notable room price increases in September, up 10% and 5.5%, respectively.

Houses recorded the most significant shift in room costs, with rents up in all states and territories. The most significant changes could be seen in Darwin (up 22% to $183/week, year-on-year), Canberra (up 18.2% to $217/week) and Perth (up 12.7% to $144/week).

The country’s priciest rooms were in Canberra for apartments at $315/week and in Sydney for houses at $225/week.

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

Metro areaApartments% change from SEP 2020Houses% change from Sep-20
SYDNEY$31312%$22512.50%
MELBOURNE$2352.20%$1451.20%
BRISBANE$2365%$1525.80%
PERTH$2257.10%$14412.70%
ADELAIDE$170-2.90%$1478.60%
HOBART$2184.80%$17511.10%
DARWIN$1901.20%$18322.20%
CANBERRA$31510.50%$21718.20%
National median$27510%$1605.50%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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Regional rents.

ABS data has shown a clear trend towards regional population growth, especially at the height of the pandemic. This has been driven by a combination of people choosing to leave the cities for the regions and fewer people moving from the regional areas to the capitals.

With regional rents rising nationally by 1.1% to $425/week, rental affordability could become more challenging in some of the country’s more popular regional markets.

The Northern Territory remains the least affordable of all states and territories, with the median tipping $500/week, a 4.1% increase from August 2021.

Table 3: Regional rents in September 2021

State/TerritorySep-21% change from AUG 2021
NSW$4500%
VIC$3700%
QLD$4251.10%
WA$4200%
SA$290-3.30%
TAS$370-2.60%
NT$5004.10%
ACTn/an/a
National median$4251.10%
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

Time on market.

Rent.com.au’s average time on market measure is designed to explain the movement in median rents across Australia. The month-on-month change to property leasing was most noticeable in Canberra, where apartment rentals moved 20% quicker than in August 2021.

In September, houses also picked up the pace, with Adelaide showing promise, averaging 16 days to lease, 15% faster than the previous month.

Melbourne apartments, still affected by ongoing lockdown restrictions and limited movement, were on the market longer than any other metro area in September, taking an average of 38 days to lease.

Looking at the annual change in time on market, Canberra also recorded the most significant change of all metro areas, with apartments leasing 35% faster than as previously recorded in August.

Table 4: Time on market in September 2021

Metro areaAPARTMENTS (Sep 2021)% change from Aug 21% change from Sep 20HOUSES (Sep 2021)% change from Aug 21% change from Sep 20
SYDNEY26 days6% faster9% faster21 days5% faster2% faster
MELBOURNE38 days9% slower4% faster23 days11% faster10% slower
BRISBANE20 days4% slower25% faster15 days0% change1% slower
PERTH20 days1% faster11% faster16 days6% faster4% faster
ADELAIDE19 days8% faster8% faster16 days15% faster6% slower
HOBART17 days2% faster19% faster16 days1% slower6% slower
DARWIN17 days2% faster26% faster18 days18% faster4% faster
CANBERRA14 days20% faster35% faster18 days5% faster5% faster
Source: Rent.com.au 2021

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Rent.com.au

Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 14 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent. More than 83,000 properties are available to rent from 5,000 agents and private landlords. Renters have created 1.12 million Renter Resumes on the website to date.