Canberra renters are feeling the squeeze when looking for their next rental property as competitive market conditions see median asking rents increase in a number of suburbs across the capital.
According to the latest Domain Rent Report for the December quarter, of the 93 Canberra suburbs captured in the data for both houses and units, only 19 suburbs saw rental prices decline in the last year.
This comes after the capital topped the nation as the most expensive city in which to rent for both houses and units.
Seven suburbs across Canberra saw double-digit growth in the last year with houses in Holt leading the pack, once again, with an annual increase of 19.6 per cent to $550 per week.
This was followed by houses in Greenway with an annual increase of 12.3 per cent to $595 per week; and houses in Ainslie with an increase of 11.3 per cent to $690 per week.
|Suburbs with double-digit growth across Canberra|
|Suburb||Region||Property||Median Weekly Asking Rent||YoY change|
|Red Hill||Inner South||House||$900||11.1%|
“There are very few suburbs that are seeing any decline in asking rents in Canberra,” said Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell.
“What it does mean for tenants is that when their lease comes to an end, they are likely to renew it. Canberra’s rental market is a tightly held market.”
In December, Canberra’s rental vacancy rate was just 1.1 per cent, down 0.5 per cent from the year prior.
For Phillip resident Senada Meskin, finding a three-bedroom apartment or house is not an easy task in the current marketplace.
The University of Canberra PhD student has been looking for a property for the past month closer to the university in Bruce but hasn’t had much luck.
“As a university student with three kids in tow, finding a rental property has been horrendous,” she said.
Ms Meskin currently pays $480 per week for a two-bedroom apartment in Phillip, where her family has lived for the past three years. Now, she is looking for a three-bedroom property with a price range up to $600 per week.
“Initially I wanted something in Bruce and Belconnen but, as of late, I’ve had to expand my search to Holt, Dunlop, Hawker and even Crace,” she said.
“Even that is quite difficult considering there are very little properties available in these suburbs.”
While 19 suburbs saw rents decline in the last year, the price falls were minor compared to the growth seen in other suburbs.
Houses in Griffith recorded the biggest decline in rental prices with an annual fall of 6.7 per cent to $700 per week. This was followed by units in Amaroo, down 5.2 per cent to $460 per week, and houses in Hughes, down 5.1 per cent to $655 per week.
|Suburbs with biggest price falls across Canberra|
|Suburb||Region||Property||Median Weekly Asking Rent||Annual change, median weekly asking rent|
Rebecca Halsted, the founder of iView Rentals Canberra — a rental search and inspection service — said with fewer rental listings on the market and high competition from buyers, landlords have pushed their prices up.
“Tenants are just fighting it out and offering way above the advertised rental price,” Ms Halsted said.
“I had one client who offered $200 more than the advertised rental price for a house in Jerrabomberra. The house was advertised for $700 per week.”
Ms Halsted, who inspects properties on behalf of people unable to attend inspections themselves, said she’s seen a number of people make the move to Canberra from Melbourne and Sydney in the last quarter.
“There’s a lot of job opportunities in the capital and the lifestyle on offer is incomparable,” she said.
New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released this week, showed that ACT job vacancies increased by 2300 listings in the last quarter, returning to pre-pandemic job growth levels.
With many ACT suburbs recording rental price growth, Dr Powell expects these prices to continue on an upward trajectory when COVID-19 measures come to an end.
The ACT government recently extended a number of rental support measures including its residential tenancy relief measure which gives land tax and residential rate rebates to landlords who reduce rents for tenants experiencing rental stress by at least 25 per cent.
“Some tenants are protected by these measures and are paying below market rents,” Dr Powell said.
“I suspect some landlords will be waiting for those measures to end and I think we’ll see further price increases once it does.”