Canberra continues to be one of the country’s most expensive cities in which to rent a home, according to the latest Domain data.
The Domain Rental Report for the March quarter showed that Canberra’s median weekly rental price was $470 during the March quarter – the third most expensive result after Sydney and Darwin.
While the Melbourne’s median house price tops Canberra’s by more than $100,000, the average renter will pay $70 a week more to rent a house in the nation’s capital.
Those who rent an apartment in the capital also pay more than their Melbourne counterparts, shelling out a median of $395 for a Canberra apartment, compared with $380 in Melbourne.
The report, which was released on Thursday, found that rents have risen in most capital cities.
Domain chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson said there was no relief this quarter for Canberra tenants with rents for both houses and units increasing.
Canberra house rental prices increased by 4.4 per cent over the past year and unit rents rose 1.3 per cent.
“Although vacancy rates held steady they remain very low, indicating the likelihood of future rent rises in Canberra,” Dr Wilson said
Canberra and Hobart had the lowest residential vacancy rate in the country with 1.5 per cent across both house and units.
“Canberra’s vacancy rate was 3.1 per cent in the March quarter of last year and it’s now holding at 1.5 per cent and that is quite a dramatic fall,” Dr Wilson said.
Dr Wilson said there has traditionally been a shortage of rental properties in Canberra and there was a high demand for mid to high-level properties.
“Canberra is an expensive place to rent and I think that’s because of higher incomes,” Dr Wilson said.
“That attracts more owner occupiers than tenants and with higher income levels, those that do come in for a rental property are looking at a higher price point.”
Real Estate Institute of the ACT spokesman Craig Bright said he has observed a recovery in the market over the past few months.
However, he said that high-end property that typically hits the market early in the year can lift the median rental price during the first quarter.
“There has definitely been a recovery in the market in the last three or four months,” Mr Bright said.
“Canberra has been playing a bit of catch up and it’s in a recovery phase back to where it was four or five years ago.”
Dr Wilson said it was also interesting to see unit prices rising and he attributed this to the growing appeal of apartments, which still offer a more affordable alternative to detached housing.
“It’s becoming a very expensive place to rent, particularly compared to the median house price,” Dr Wilson said.