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Canberra is Australia’s most expensive for house, apartment renters, SQM Research data October 2021

The surprising city with the most expensive rents in Australia… and the place where you can still grab a bargain – but you’d better be quick

  • Canberra is Australia’s most expensive city for house and apartment renters
  • Median house rent of $716 is even dearer than Sydney’s $704, Melbourne’s $523
  • SQM Research data only tight rental vacancy rates outside the biggest cities 


Canberra has cemented itself as Australia’s most expensive city for both house and apartment renters during the pandemic. 

The national capital’s vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent is half the national average and is significantly tighter than Sydney or Melbourne. 

In another surprise, Melbourne is now the third cheapest capital city market for renters despite being Australia’s second most populated city.

Tenants leasing a house in Canberra were paying a median rent of $716 a week in early November, following a 13.9 per cent rise during the past year, new SQM Research data has revealed.

Canberra has cemented itself as Australia’s most expensive city for house and apartment renters during the pandemic. The national capital’s vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent is half the national average and is significantly below Sydney and Melbourne level of available properties (pictured is Parliament House)

Australia’s most expensive rents

CANBERRA: $716

SYDNEY: $704

DARWIN: $619.30

BRISBANE: $534.50 

PERTH: $524.10 

MELBOURNE: $523

HOBART: $504.60 

ADELAIDE: $458.40

Source: SQM Research, median rents for in the week ending November 4

This was dearer than Sydney’s mid-point rent of $704 and well above the capital city average of $582.

Canberra has also the most expensive market for apartments, with tenants typically shelling out $523 a week, compared with $469.80 in Sydney and $372.20 in Melbourne.

The Australian Capital Territory’s overall rental vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent for all types of properties was only a quarter of Melbourne’s 3.3 per cent and less than third of Sydney’s 2.6 per cent.

It was also only half Brisbane’s vacancy rate of 1.4 per cent.

Despite that, Canberra wasn’t even Australia’s tightest rental market with only 0.6 per cent of Perth and Adelaide properties looking for a tenant compared with 0.4 per cent in Hobart.

The national rental vacancy rate of 1.6 per cent in October was itself the tightest since March 2011. 

While inner-city renters in Sydney and Melbourne can get a better deal now, SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said that would be unlikely next year.

‘If we really are at the point where lockdowns are a thing of the past in this country, then it is likely the CBD locations will recover for property owners in 2022,’ he said.

‘Elsewhere rents continue to steadily rise as a result of these very tight rental conditions across Australia.’

Tenants leasing a house in Canberra were paying a median rent of $716 a week in early November, following a 13.9 per cent rise during the past year, new SQM Research data has revealed (pictured is a house at Dunlop with a weekly asking rent of $760)

Tenants leasing a house in Canberra were paying a median rent of $716 a week in early November, following a 13.9 per cent rise during the past year, new SQM Research data has revealed (pictured is a house at Dunlop with a weekly asking rent of $760)

Sydney’s central business district vacancy rate in October was still high at 7.5 per cent with Melbourne’s city centre having 8 per cent of rental properties available to let.

The closure of Australia’s border to foreigners since March 2020 has meant landlords aren’t able to rent out their properties to international students.

In May 2020, Sydney’s CBD had a rental vacancy rate of 16.2 per cent. 

The pandemic has also pushed house prices to record highs almost all of Australia and seen Canberra overtake Melbourne to be the second most expensive capital city market after Sydney.

Canberra’s median house price in the year to October rose by 29 per cent to $985,040 as Melbourne’s mid-point increased by 19.5 per cent to $972,659, CoreLogic data showed.

Only Sydney, among the capitals, had a higher value with median house prices rising by an annual pace of 30.4 per cent to $1.334million.  

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk