A Sydney apartment with an extraordinarily basic kitchen has raised eyebrows after it was advertised for $400 a week on social media.
Photos of a studio in the Emerald Park complex in Zetland, in the city’s east, were posted in a Facebook community group alongside a caption describing it as ‘beautifully furnished’ with ‘all bills’ included.
The space looks standard enough at first glance, but eagle-eyed renters were quick to spot a glaring detail in the corner of the picture – the kitchenette has a two-ring stovetop, but no microwave or oven.
One house hunter, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia she ‘couldn’t believe’ the asking price given there appeared to be no facility to properly prepare food.
One house hunter, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia she ‘couldn’t believe’ the studio cost $400 a week given there was no facility to properly prepare food
The kitchenette has a two-ring stovetop, but no microwave or oven
It comes weeks after Labor declared that Australia is in the midst of a rental crisis, based on a new report which showed prices have soared 14.6 per cent in the past year.
The average national weekly rent for houses stands at $526, up 1.3 per cent in the month to August 12, the report by SQM Research revealed.
Prices jumped rapidly across most capital cities, with Sydney up 10.2 per cent, Brisbane up 11.2 per cent, Perth up 12.9 per cent and Darwin up 25.3 per cent.
Only Melbourne saw a decrease, with rents dropping 0.4 per cent.
Louis Christopher, Managing Director of SQM Research, said the increase was ‘perplexing’ during the pandemic but believes it is a result of housing supply.
The report found that jut 1.7 per cent of rental properties were vacant, down from 2.1 per cent last year.
‘Current tight rental vacancy rates are driving up rents across Australia,’ Mr Christopher said.
But he said rents may come down in Sydney and Melbourne if prolonged lockdowns push more residents to leave the cities.
Prices jumped rapidly in most capital cities with Sydney up 10.2 per cent. Pictured: Bella Vista in north-west Sydney
Rental price change for houses over 12 months
Source: SQM Research
‘Given the ongoing international border closures and still relatively high completions, the national rental market should be at least more balanced,’ he said.
‘That may well still happen if lockdowns persist through to summer as it is likely many people living in Sydney and Melbourne may attempt to move elsewhere.
‘SQM Research believes the new lockdowns may have triggered another wave of interest in regional living as many of the community seek freedom away from harsh Covid measures.’
CoreLogic’s head of research Eliza Owen said government Covid payments and increased savings may also be responsible for the spike.
‘Increased government stimulus through Covid-19, accumulated household savings through lockdown periods [and] the swift economic recovery seen as restrictions eased, have also exacerbated rental price increases, particularly in major centres of regional Australia,’ she said.
In response to the sharp increase, Labor declared a ‘rental crisis’ and called for more government-built housing.
‘We have a rental crisis in Australia. It’s harder to rent now than ever before,’ Shadow Housing Minister Jason Clare told Daily Mail Australia.
‘With wages only going up by 1.7 per cent, Australians have less money after they pay the rent for food and other bills.
‘One of the things we have to do is build more affordable housing. That’s why we have said if we win the next election, we will establish the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which would build more social and affordable housing,’ he added.
House rental prices in Darwin (pictured) were up 25.3 per cent in the year to August 12
The Fund would build 10,000 affordable housing properties for frontline workers and 20,000 social housing properties in the first five years, Labor says.
On the other hand, the Coalition believes the way to tackle the supply issue is to urge state governments to relax rules and regulations to make it easier for developers to build.
In May, Housing Minister Michael Sukkar addressed the Urban Development Institute of Australia conference saying: ‘What we need to do is…hold state and territory governments’ feet to the fire a little more.’
NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes hit back, saying historically low interest rates and federal tax rates were to blame for pushing up prices – not state planning rules.