Capital city rents continue to increase, according to new data. Analysis by rent.com.au shows rents have increased in all cities except Brisbane and Perth.
Apartment rents rose in Hobart (4.2%), Sydney (3.8%), Canberra (3.3%), Darwin (2.9%), Melbourne (2.3%) and Adelaide (1.6%), but were unchanged in Brisbane and down slightly in Perth, according to the rent.com.au figures.
On a price-per-room basis, the biggest rises were in Hobart (7.8%) and Sydney (3.9%).
The increase follows a trend of growing rental prices within the past 12 months as the nation grappled with a lack of affordable housing in most cities, with vacancies generally very low.
Data from SQM Research show that vacancies are below 1.8% in Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra – and below 3% in Brisbane and Perth.
While the current rise in rents seems out of step with the downward trend in house prices in some cities, analysts say it is to be expected.
“Rents and house prices can move in different directions at the same time,” University of New South Wales City Futures research fellow Chris Martin says.
“This is because house prices have a speculative component that rents do not have. Rents more directly reflect demand for, and supply of, housing as housing. By contrast, house prices also reflect a degree of speculation – that is, housing as an asset, that someone else might pay more for later.”
Martin says that because construction commencements for new dwellings have decreased, there may be further supply pressures on rents.
Greg Bader, the CEO of rent.com.au, says the recent increases has also been influenced by an influx of demand in the market, as students seek suitable accommodation.