Renting a property has never been more expensive, as new data shows prices are soaring amid Australia’s cost of living crisis.

Rents hit record highs across the country’s combined capitals, according to Domain’s Quarterly Rent Report, with Canberra still the most expensive city for houses and units.

The median weekly rent for a house in the nation’s capital hit $690 a week, while Brisbane had the biggest year-on-year increase of 16.9 per cent, taking the cost to $520.

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This was the steepest annual rise in the city’s history, which has been attributed to young families relocating to Greater Brisbane during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melbourne remained the most affordable city to rent a house, which was $460 a week after a rise of 2.2 per cent in the June quarter.

House affordability shifted demand to units, resulting in their rents growing at a faster quarterly pace than houses.

Unit rents in Canberra were the most expensive at $550 a week, marking a 10 per cent year-on-year increase.

Adelaide was the most affordable city to rent a unit, at $380 a week, which was a rise of 2.7 per cent.

Domain’s chief of economics and research, Nicola Powell, said various factors had boosted demand for rentals across Australia.

“The numbers that we’re seeing are a result of a combination of high purchasing prices locking people into the rental market longer, increased home loan costs being passed on to tenants, weaker investment activity throughout 2019/20, and fewer building completions,” Dr Powell said.

She said other factors included “greater household formation, investors cashing in on the recent price boom, and rental demand being boosted by the return of international students and overseas migration”.

Anglicare Australia acting executive director Maiy Azize said the rental crisis would only worsen unless the government stepped in.

“The market is at fever pitch and people are struggling to keep up. Anglicare agencies have been seeing full-time workers sleeping in their cars and pensioners struggling to find rooms in share houses,” Ms Azize told AAP.

“The best way to tackle this crisis is to build affordable rentals. (We’re) calling for 25,000 new social and affordable rentals to be built each year over the next two decades. We also want reforms that end unfair rent increases and make renting more secure.”

The report notes improved rent affordability in select suburbs including Birmingham Gardens (NSW), MacLeod (Vic) and Middleton (SA).


Sydney – House: $620, Unit: $525  

Melbourne – House: $460, Unit: $410  

Brisbane – House: $520, Unit: $450

Adelaide – House: $480, Unit: $380

Canberra – House: $690, Unit: $550

Perth – House: $495, Unit: $400

Hobart – House: $540, Unit: $450

Darwin – House: $600, Unit: $480

Source: Domain Quarterly Rent Report

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