Australia’s Rental Prices Have Gone Up By More Than 70 Percent In Some Suburbs

The worst hit suburb is Killcare Heights on the Central Coast.

rental prices

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As if the cost of living wasn’t already bad enough amid rising inflation, landlords across the country have hiked up the rent to record-breaking levels. You know, because we cannot have anything good this year.

According to data collected by PropTrack and provided to The Oz, rent has increased by as much as 72.6 percent in the last twelve months, depending on your suburb. Yikes.

The report comes amid calls for fixed caps on rental hikes, with the executive director for rental advocacy group Better Renting Joel Dignam telling 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that caps could ensure people actually have a place to live.

“We’d like to see government trying to cap some of these exorbitant rent increases,” said Dignam. “Setting some sort of fixed limit is a thing people can plan around … [it] would help to make sure people can actually stay in the homes they’re renting.”

The Worst Hit Suburbs Have Had Rent Prices Surge More Than 70 Percent

The suburb of Killcare Heights on the NSW Central Coast is perhaps the worst place to be a renter right now, with the median rental price skyrocketing from $475 to a staggering $820 per week — an increase of 72.6 percent.

While Killcare Heights was one of five suburbs in NSW that saw an increase of more than 50 percent in the last 12 months, the crisis isn’t exclusive to NSW. Queensland’s Rainbow Beach also saw an increase of 72.5 percent, with Canon Valley following closely behind with a 68.3 percent rise. Meanwhile, Hazelwood Park (SA) and Strahan (TAS) saw hikes of 64.6 percent and 64.8 percent, respectively.

The situation is marginally better in Victoria, where the worst hit suburb — Hayfield — only saw a rise of 48.9 percent, with the highest increases observed in regional areas like Portsea and Sorrento. But the mass exodus of more than half a million people from Victoria in 2021 could be why it fared marginally better than Queensland and New South Wales.

Regional Areas Are Suffering

Across the country, some of the highest rental hikes were observed in regional areas, which checks out considering COVID has prompted the largest inflow of Australians to the regions since the turn of the century.

Thanks — in part — to more flexible working arrangements, Australians are more inclined to move to the regions, where they afford to rent an apartment larger than a shoebox. Well, at least, they could. “People are happy to come out of the cities and move regionally, which has pushed up rent in the last year or two,” Killcare Ray White agent Sue Rallis told The Oz.

Basically, as more peoples opt to live in regional areas with perks like a backyard and, perhaps, some fresh air, vacancy rates are going down and prices are going up.

Why Is This Happening?

In addition to inflation and being at the mercy of however much landlords wish to charge, a major reason for the steep increases is declining numbers of vacant properties.

“Rents are going up because vacancy rates are low,” said Dignam on 3AW. “There’s not many rental properties out there, which means if you’re a landlord you realise you’ve got a chance to ask for more money.”

Currently, the national vacancy rate sits at one percent — the lowest point on record, according to Domain’s Rental Vacancy Report. In the regions, specifically, it is at 0.7 percent, while it’s marginally better in the cities at 1.1 percent.

According to NSW Tenants’ Union CEO Leo Patterson Ross, we would need to see a significant increase in vacant rentals for the situation to get much better for tenants.

“Rents are still rising very quickly and that’s not surprising because the vacancy rate staying around 1.5 per cent really doesn’t change a lot, or how easy it is to find a rental,” Patterson Ross told the Sydney Morning Herald.