Here’s what’s happening to the rental markets around Australia | January 2019


The rental markets usually perform strongly at times when capital growth is flat or falling, but that’s not really the case at present.National Residential Vacancy Rate

So let’s take a detailed look at the rental markets around Australia to see how they are faring, using data from SQM Research and

And as usual, the markets re very fragmented.

Vacancy rates are up

Data released by SQM Research last week revealed the national residential vacancy rate rose to 2.5% in December 2018, up from 2.3% in November 2018, with the total number of vacancies Australia-wide increasing to 82,558.
An additional 7,968 properties are now available for rent since November.

Most capital cities experienced an increase in their vacancy rates in December with both Perth and Hobart remaining steady at 3.4% and 0.4% respectively – Hobart is still the lowest of all capital cities.Darwin currently has the highest vacancy rate of all capital cities at 4.3%, up 0.3% on November’s vacancy of 4.0%.

Vacancies in Sydney and Canberra increased the most since November, both a 0.4% increase.
However, Sydney’s vacancy rate is currently the second highest at 3.6% with 25,177 properties available for rent while Canberra’s vacancy rate is a low 1.3% with 829 properties available for rent.

Perth’s rental market continues to improve with the vacancy rate remaining steady at 3.4% since November and well down from 4.6% a year ago when it was the highest of all capital cities.

Brisbane’s vacancy rate edged higher to 3.2% from 3.0% in November, but is down from 3.8% a year ago.

Melbourne’s vacancy rate also rose slightly to 2.2% from 1.9% in November and only marginally up from 2.1% a year ago.

Adelaide’s rose slightly to 1.3% from 1.2% but slightly down from 1.5% in December 2017.

The rise in vacancies continue into December due to seasonality, with Hobart continuing to face ongoing tight rental conditions however rents in Hobart have decreased over the month for both houses and units.

If current vacancy rate levels continue to rise into January and February, Darwin, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will be a tenant’s market in 2019.

Let’s dig  deeper into the rental markets

Property leasing data released by for the October to December quarter (Q4 2018) illustrates the shift in Australian median rental property prices (both metro and regional), rental affordability (the median room price metric) and the price of walkability in each state and territory capital.

LeasedQ4 Highlights:

  • Canberra saw an increase in median rents for both apartments (up 4.5% to $460/week) and houses (up 1.8% to $540/week).
  • Apartment prices remained relatively stable in the latest report, with no change recorded in MelbourneBrisbanePerth or Adelaide quarter-on-quarter.
  • Sydney once again topped the list for rental prices in Q4 for both apartments and houses $520/week and $600/week, respectively).
How the states and territories compared in Q4 2018
Median rent (apartments v houses) and price per room
Metro area Apartments % change Houses % change
SYDNEY $520 -3.7% $600 0%
MELBOURNE $410 0% $430 +2.3%
BRISBANE $400 0% $430 +2.3%
PERTH $320 0% $365 +1.3%
ADELAIDE $300 0% $380 +2.7%
HOBART $382 +12.5% $430 -0.5%
DARWIN $350 -4.1% $472 +0.5%
CANBERRA $462 +4.5% $540 +1.8%
National median $450 0% $440 +2.3%

Price trends

Rents in the fourth quarter of 2018 were consistent with median rental data from a quarter ago, according to new data from

But renting a house in many of the country’s state and territory capitals has become slightly more expensive, up 2.3% from Q3 2018.

“Momentum was pretty well in line with what we’d expect for rental seasonality,” CEO Greg Bader said.

“Even so, there wasn’t a pronounced shift in the big-picture story which may come in the next quarter. We’re about to enter a period of seasonally faster apartment and house leasing that comes with the January period as leases end, jobs change, and people look at moving for school and university.”

The Quarter 4 (Q4) 2018 report showed a relatively steady market, with median apartment rents stable nationally.

Houses experienced more movement towards the end of 2018; median rents climbed in six of the eight capital cities.

These included:

  •  Australia National House StatesMelbourne (up 2.3% to $430/week)
  •  Brisbane (up 2.3% to $430/week)
  •  Perth (up 1.3% to $365/week)
  • Adelaide (up 2.7% to $380/week)
  •  Darwin (up 0.5% to $472/week)
  • Canberra (up 1.8% to $540/week).

“Despite Perth house rents slowly rising, (up 1.3% in Q4), reluctant demand from investors and a significant oversupply of new apartments mean prospects for significant growth in the Perth market may still be a few years away,” Mr Bader said.

“Given Hobart’s relatively strong rental market, met with the recovery of the market (driven largely through tourism) and continued population growth, rents have also been rising strongly in the TAS capital. As for Sydney’s market in Q4, apartment rents fell 3.7% to $520/week in Q4, while house rents were unchanged from Q3 at $600/week.”

DarwinPrice per room

Considering RENT’s price per room metric, Darwin experienced the most movement in room prices towards the end of 2018.

The NT capital saw a 6% rise in the price per room for apartments, now $175/week.

Despite this robust movement in the top end, price changes were minimal across the remainder of the country, bringing national room costs down 1.8% to $265/week, while houses stayed flat.

Nationally, the cost of renting a room was highest – unsurprisingly perhaps – in Sydney at $266/week.

In Q4, the cheapest room prices could be found in Perth, a median $125/week.

Apartment, House and National Price per Room
% change between Q3 2018 and Q4 2018
Metro area Apartments % change from Q3 2018 Houses % change from Q3 2018 Price per room (national) % change from Q3 2018
SYDNEY $315 0% $198 -0.2% $266 -3.2%
MELBOURNE $250 -2.9% $138 +3.7% $175 0%
BRISBANE $230 +2.2% $135 +1.2% $160 +1%
PERTH $190 0% $116 +2.9% $125 +1.3%
ADELAIDE $155 -3.1% $126 +1.3% $133 0%
HOBART $210 +5% $153 +4.5% $163 +3.1%
DARWIN $175 +6% $150 +4.6% $150 -2.1%
CANBERRA $310 -1.5% $173 +1.9% $208 +1.6%
National median $265 -1.8% $145 +3.5% $186 0%

Regional rents

In the regions, median rents were kept largely stable in Q4.

QueenslandRents rose incrementally on a national level, up 2.7% to $370/week on the previous quarter.

Only two states recorded an increased from Q3 2018.

In Queensland, regional median rents climbed 2.7% to $370/week and further ahead in Western Australia, up 3% to $340/week.

South Australia was the only state to record a drop in its median rent, down 2.8%.

Regional Rents
% change between Q3 2018 and Q4 2018
State/Territory Q3 2018 Q4 2018 % change
NSW $400 $400 0%
VIC $300 $300 0%
QLD $360 $370 +2.7%
WA $330 $340 +3%
SA $267 $260 -2.8%
TAS $295 $295 0%
NT $450 $450 0%
ACT unavailable unavailable unavailable
National median $360 $370 +2.7%

Days on market

The most noticeable shift in days on market quarter-on-quarter was in Hobart houses, which took 13.8 days on average to lease, 23.3% faster than in Q3 2018.

The most significant slowdown in Q4 was in Canberra; houses moved 16.4% slower than they did in Q3 2018.

The ACT capital’s high-income earning workforce has helped to drive rents higher, making it increasingly unaffordable for lower-income households.

Days on market
% change in no. days on market (Apartments v Houses)
Metro area APARTMENTS days on market % change from Q32018 % change from Q4 2017 HOUSES days on market % change from Q3 2018 % change from Q4 2017
SYDNEY 25.9 days -0.4% +18.8% 25.9 days -4.1% +17.2%
MELBOURNE 21.2 days +1.9% -2.9% 22.1 days -3.9% +0.6%
BRISBANE 23.8 days -1.5% -13.9% 23 days -5.2% -10.2%
PERTH 34.8 days -5.3% -14.7% 30.8 days -13.8% -18.2%
ADELAIDE 21.8 days -8.9% -12.2% 21.7 days -9.9% -1.2%
HOBART 12.3 days -21.7% +4.9% 13.8 days -23.3% -0.9%
DARWIN 41.7 days +11% +10.1% 33.9 days -10.3% +10.4%
CANBERRA 16 days +5.4% -5.2% 15.8 days -16.4% -7.1%

Walk Score® – The price of walkability

Rent House compared its Walk Score® data to its median rent price to identify price trends in areas with varying levels of walkability in Q4 2018.

Renters seeking bargain accommodation would have found the most affordable Walker’s Paradise apartments in Tasmaniaaccording to the Q4 data.

Walker’s Paradise apartments cost an average of $380/week to rent in TAS. Next most walkable (and affordable) was Western Australia at $390/week.

APARTMENTS: Median Rent meets Walkability in Q4 2018
Car Dependent $335 $310 $295 $290 $255 $260 $360 $390
Somewhat Walkable $440 $340 $330 $290 $275 $250 $380 $410
Very Walkable $490 $380 $375 $315 $295 $310 $440 $450
Walker’s Paradise $570 $470 $430 $390 $400 $380 $430 $480

The most affordable median rent for a Walker’s Paradise house in Q4 was $450/week in South Australia.

Western Australia followed close behind ($460/week), followed by Queensland and Tasmania (both $470/week).

Houses in New South Wales remained priciest, topping the list at $795/week for a Walker’s Paradise home.

HOUSES: Median Rent meets Walkability in Q4 2018
Car Dependent $449 $375 $385 $350 $320 $320 $490 $500
Somewhat Walkable $460 $395 $395 $360 $355 $320 $475 $520
Very Walkable $550 $450 $420 $390 $390 $390 $400 $500
Walker’s Paradise $795 $610 $470 $460 $450 $470 $520 $550



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Leanne is National Director of Property Management at Metropole and a Property Professional in every sense of the word. With 20 years' experience in real estate, Leanne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to maximise returns and minimise stress for their clients. Visit: Metropole Property Management

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