Australia’s Rent Market Is Officially Feral, But Will It Ever Improve?

Crises: There are two classic flavours on tap. The first type of crisis is short, sharp, and intense. The second type is slow, prolonged, and a background-themed hellscape. 

In Australia, our rental crisis falls into the latter category. It’s been going on for years. At times, our market can even feel normal.

What, there are no homes to rent in your neighbourhood? Okay. Your landlord increased your rent by $200 per week? Sure, why not.

However, Australia’s situation is far from normal. Having access to safe and affordable housing should be a fundamental human right.

On 6 July, Domain dropped one of its iconic Quarterly Rent Reports. Its most recent report unpacked how Australia’s rent prices have increased between June 2022 and June 2023. 

Unpacking these numbers will help remind us that no, Australia’s rental market isn’t a normal one. Here is the info to know.

Domain’s Quarterly Rent Report

According to Domain, the rental market is currently munted. In June 2022, the average Sydney unit was $620 per week. In June 2023, this price is now $700. Similar bumps also took place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, and Perth.

What’s more, while Melbourne continues to be the cheapest capital to rent in, they were also hit with an increase. In June 2022, the average Melbs unit was $410 per week. One year later, this price is $500.

Domain Rent Report - June Quarter 2023
Image: Domain

Dr Nicola Powell, Domain’s Chief of Research and Economics, noted that this situation should be far from the norm.

“The colliding mismatch of heightened demand and supply side constraints has continued to place pressure on house and unit asking rents across Australia,” Powell said. “This has resulted in records being set in most capital cities.”

The only two capitals that exited the increase game were Canberra and Hobart. In Canberra, the price of a unit decreased by $15 per week. In Hobart, the price went down by $10.

However, 2/8 is an abysmal score. Especially when folks are forgoing food, electricity, and menstrual products in order to cover their bills. If Australia wants to be a just country, then on this front, we have to do a whack better. 

A Rent Increase Crisis: Thanks for Playing

When it comes to fixing the rental market, Powell believes that there are no easy solutions. In fact, the way Powell broaches this subject, she might think that the current system is beyond hope.

“With a number of factors at play, there needs to be a seismic shift in supply to address the challenges being faced,” Powell said. “In fact, our research shows that more than double the rental listings needed today to create a balanced rental market. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these challenges.

“Rising investor activity is needed, the build-to-rent sector advanced, additional rental assistance provided for low-income households, more social housing, and assisting tenants transition to homeowners.”

Related: An Airbnb Tax — Will One Solve the Renting Crisis?

Related: Renting in Australia — A Task That’s Just About Impossible

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