You’ll never guess which is now the least affordable city

Hobart has overtaken Sydney to become the least affordable city in the country in which to rent. 

For Rent

The May Rental Affordability Index (RAI), which measures the costs of renting in Australia’s cities relative to household incomes, shows that for the first time ever, it is now less affordable to rent in Hobart than it is in Sydney, followed by Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth.

The report  found that Hobart’s residents are spending 29 per cent of their gross median $61,300 income on rent, with Sydney close behind with 27 per cent.

People in Hobart earn on average $30,000 less per year than Sydney residents but the gap in the cost of rents between the cities has tightened.

What is rental stress?

Rental or housing stress occurs when affordable housing is unavailable, and rent consumes a disproportionately high amount of household income.  

Households paying 30 per cent of their income on rent have an RAI score of 100, indicating these households are at the critical threshold for housing stress.

For such households, the prohibitive cost of housing undermines their ability to pay for basic necessities including food, power and water, health services and medication, travel and transport, education, household goods and debt repayments.

Australia needs to build an estimated 500,000 affordable and social housing units over the next decade, and the lack of housing earmarked for people on low incomes, as well as homes for pensioners and others dependent on the state is one of the greatest challenges for growing Australia’s cities.

So what do you have to pay in rent?

According to SQM Research, here’s what you need to pay to rent around Australia.
City: Average rent for houses (all sizes): Average rent for units (all sizes):
Canberra $624.3 per week $444.3 per week
Sydney $722.6 per week $524.6 per week
Darwin $536.4 per week $402.2 per week
Brisbane $446.7 per week $368.9 per week
Adelaide $381.1 per week $300.4 per week
Hobart $394.2 per week $351.3 per week
Melbourne $530.8 per week $408.8 per week
Perth $420.6 per week $323.1 per week
National $435.0 per week $359.0 per week

Sydney remains ‘extremely unaffordable’ for pensioners

As of September 2017, the median-rental household in greater Sydney had a gross income of $98,500 per annum with an RAI of 113, equating to ‘moderately unaffordable’ rents.  Sydney suburbs

Greater Sydney remains ‘critically unaffordable’ for low-income households, with the average-rental household spending around 27 per cent of its total income on rent.

“The average household must travel over 20 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, to areas such as Blacktown and Liverpool, to find acceptable rents,” the report found.

In order to afford rent in greater Sydney, a single pensioner would have to shell out 94 per cent of their total income, making it the least affordable location for pensioners in Australia.

With an RAI of 32, rents for single pensioners are classified as ‘extremely unaffordable’.

rental affordability

rental affordability


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Leanne Jopson


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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