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Now Is The Best Time To Rent An Apartment In Sydney, But Don't Get Too Excited

It's not often we see good news about the cost of living in Sydney, but according to a new report if you're looking to rent in Australia's most expensive city now is probably the best time.

According to Domain's latest rental report, renting costs have continued to go down over the past year.

The December quarter statistics show prices have remained unchanged in the last quarter, with median house rents back to 2016 prices and median unit rents down to their 2015 levels.

Overall rents for house prices fell 2.8 percent by $15 to $525 per week over the past year.

Unit rents in Sydney dropped even more, falling $20 to $510 per week, a drop of 3.8 percent.

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Domain, one of Australia's largest property portals, said this drop was likely caused by new apartment construction coupled with slower population growth which has contributed to a rising vacancy rate.

The rates are also between $25-$40 below the 2017/2018 peak.

But it's not good news for every Sydney suburb.

While the greatest house rent drops were seen in the inner-city, eastern and southern parts of the city, rents increased in the northern beaches area by 1 percent over the last year and by 2 percent in Newcastle.

Area Units (Dec 18) Units (Dec 19) Homes (Dec 18) Homes (Dec 19)
Blue Mountains $340 $343 $450 $450
Canterbury Bankstown $415 $400 $540 $520
Central Coast $365 $385 $440 $430
City and East $650 $650 $1,095 $1,000
Inner West $550 $525 $760 $750
Lower North Shore $600 $595 $1,000 $1,000
North West $495 $490 $610 $600
Northern Beaches $600 $600 $950 $960
South $520 $495 $650 $620
South West $370 $350 $465 $450
Upper North Shore $530 $520 $800 $785
West $450 $420 $450 $450

While the rent drops are a welcome relief for some, the Tenants' Union of NSW says Sydney has still got a long way to go before it begins seeing a "renters' market" yet, which would really make a difference to affordability and security.

Executive Officer Julie Foreman said while prices are decreasing across the city, it's likely only impacting people who can already afford and want to move to a new place.

"It doesn't appear to be translating into a significantly better renting experience for the majority of people and especially not for people living on a pension or people on very low incomes," Foreman told 10 daily.

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She said renters' markets occur when people on lower incomes are able to find a new home quickly, at significantly lower prices than currently and can then stay in those properties for as long as they want.

"Research demonstrates that there is still a major shortfall in affordable renting for people on low incomes," Foreman said.

A Swinburne study last month found there was still a significant shortage of affordable and available private rentals which is forcing around 80 percent of very low-income Australians to live in unaffordable rentals.

Domain is also warning renting prices will likely rise again in the city throughout 2020.

While it's good news for some in Sydney, it's less so for Canberra.

According to Domain, while Sydney remains Australia's most expensive city for unit rentals, population growth and a construction boom have not been enough to quell the strong growth in rent in the nation's capital.

Over the last quarter, medium rents for houses jumped just by 5.5 percent to $550 in Canberra and 2.1 percent to $480 for units, making it the most expensive capital city to rent a house.

Melbourne

Melburnians didn't see any change in house renting prices over the last quarter, sitting at $430, but a 2 percent decline over the last year has seen prices go back down to 2018 levels.

But it's a different story for unit prices, which sit at $420 following an 11 percent jump over the last three years.

Domain believes it's likely rent will continue to rise in 2020 because of the ongoing population growth.

Area Units (Dec 18) Units (Dec 19) Houses (Dec 18 Houses (Dec 19)
Inner $450 $475 $620 $630
Inner East $410 $420 $590 $595
Inner South $420 $420 $650 $650
North East $370 $370 $400 $410
North West $365 $360 $400 $410
Outer East $370 $380 $430 $445
South East $345 $350 $400 $$00
West $330 $340 $390 $390
Mornington Peninsula $330 $330 $410 $410
Geelong $300 $330 $390 $400

Numbers supplied by Domain. 

Brisbane

In Brisbane, both house and unit prices jumped by $5 in the last quarter, reflecting a relatively steady few years on the market thanks to new construction.

Median weekly house rents now sit at $410 a week while unit prices sit at $385.

Area trends

  • Brisbane City Council: House rents rose by 3 percent over the last year but unit price remained the same
  • Gold Coast: House rents rose by 2 percent over the last year but unit prices remained the same.
  • Sunshine Coast: House rents rose by 2 percent over the last year while unit rents rose  by 1 percent.
Area Units (Dec 18) Units (Dec 19) Houses (Dec 18 Houses (Dec 19)
East $400 $400 $460 $460
North $360 $370 $440 $450
South $380 $390 $445 $450
West $400 $410 $497 $500
Inner City $420 $425 $550 $550
Gold Coast East $430 $430 $595 $590
Gold Coast Hinterland $ $ $478 $490
Gold Coast West $430 $450 $485 $495
Ipswich $295 $295 $350 $350
Logan $305 $305 $360 $365
Moreton Bay North $310 $320 $370 $370
Moreton Bay South $340 $335 $410 $420
Sunshine Coast $400 $420 $490 $495

Numbers supplied by Domain. 

Adelaide

Rent rates in Adelaide also rose in the last quarter, now sitting at a medium $390 for houses and $315 for units.

According to Domain the city saw a "modest" rise in rents across the board over the last year.

"Rising rents and a low vacancy rate has meant Adelaide’s rental market remains competitive," Domain said.

Region Units (Dec 18) Units (Dec 19) Houses (Dec 18) Houses (Dec 19)
Central and Hills $330 $350 $430 $440
North $280 $270 $340 $340
South $285 $300 $380 $390
West $295 $300 $400 $410

Numbers supplied by Domain. 

Perth

According to Domain, Perth still holds the spot for the being the most affordable capital city for renters in Australia.

Rents have remained unchanged over the last quarter sitting at $370 for houses and $310 for units.

"Perth's rental market is rebounding off the back of an improving Western Australian economy and a pick-up in population growth," Domain said.

"This is a sign the Perth property market is at a turning point."

Region Units (Dec 18 Units (Dec 19) Houses (Dec 18) Houses (Dec 19)
Inner $340 $350 $478 $495
North East $265 $275 $350 $350
North West $300 $320 $360 $370
South East $295 $300 $350 $360
South West $300 $315 $360 $370
Mandurah $250 $260 $320 $320

Numbers supplied by Domain.