Is Australia’s Rental Market Improving? Or It Still a Throne of Garbage?

Mates, please don’t shoot the messenger. I have some rubbish news to tell you, and being filled with arrows will make my day remarkably worse. 

Alright, here it goes: Australia’s rental market is still the pits.

According to PropTrack, renting in Australia has become even pricier this quarter. Between January and March, Sydney prices went up by 3.51%, Brisbane by 4%, and Melbourne by 2.22%. Meanwhile, Darwin rose by 1.82%, Hobart by 4%, and Adelaide by 4.44%.

Stats about how Australia’s rental market has changed.
Image: PropTrack

However, one joint was hit worse than all of the others. And that joint was Perth. In Perth, rental prices increased by a whopping 8.7%.

Meanwhile, only two places in Australia didn’t suffer an increase this quarter. Canberra and regional South Australia. 

But why are these rental increases happening? Well, the reasoning is pretty straightforward. In the opinion of PropTrack’s Cameron Kusher, there are too many renters and not enough homes on the market.

As this Director of Economic Research said, “The national rental market was extremely tight over the first quarter of 2023. Rental vacancy rates were edging lower due to exceptionally strong demand for rental properties and an ongoing shortage of supply. As a result of these conditions, properties were leasing quickly, and landlords were afforded scope to increase rents.”

“The challenges for renters are being exacerbated by the fact that higher interest rates have reduced borrowing capacities. This is making it harder for renters to transition into first home buyers.”

So, with all of this in mind, how do we fix this problem? What can we do to stop Australia’s rental market from spiralling? 

Well, a national rental freeze would be nice. A rental freeze would prevent Australia’s rental prices from ballooning for a period of time. It also would stop our real estate agencies and landlords from taking advantage of our volatile market. It would save people from becoming homeless and prevent others from literally starving for rent.

But unfortunately, a rental freeze isn’t on the cards. On March 29, our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, called this idea “absolute pixie dust.” This is despite the fact that the Victorian, South Australian, Tasmanian, and the ACT have all frozen rent in the past.

In this instance, it’s a shame that Albo thinks that justice is magic.

Related: Would a Vacancy Tax Fix Australia’s Housing Crisis?

Related: Scotland’s Rent Freeze —Should Australia Follow Suit?

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