Renters face stiff competition for homes amid record rental vacancy rate

The reopening of borders and the uptick in the number of international students added to the rental demand, Coates said. An increase in the number of permanent skilled immigrants to a record 195,000 places this year, in a bid to address the job crisis, would further increase demand and could reduce vacancies.


More housing would be needed to support the surge in demand, Coates said, but with only about 2 percent of the nation’s homes built each year, renters are “likely to get worse before it gets better.”

Raine & Horne’s head of property management, Maria Milillo, who is also a renter, said renters were desperate to find suitable housing, and more were staying in properties that no longer met their needs due to lack of stock.

Tenants were offering to pay rent months in advance, sign longer leases and pay more than the advertised rate to try to secure a rent in the competitive market, Milillo said, but noted that property managers did not encourage this.

“He is competitive across the board. I was chatting with a friend yesterday who leased a property in Sutherland Shire, she offered six months’ rent in advance. People know… there almost has to be an incentive to cross the line,” she said.

Many good applicants were missing out on homes, he added, due to rental shortages, which had been exacerbated by landlords charging during the market boom.

Vacancy rates have more than halved in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the past year.

Vacancy rates have more than halved in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the past year.Credit:craig sillitoe

Rent increases of $100 or $200 between leases were common in some areas.

Tenants Victoria director of community engagement Farah Farouque said low-to-middle income tenants, including a growing number of young families, faced the biggest challenge, with rent increases actually outpacing growth in wages and payments. support. Even the once-affordable outer suburbs and regional areas were becoming too expensive.

“We’ve had an increase in people talking about the financial stress of rent increases ranging from $30 a week to $320 a week in a very serious case,” he said.


Even those with good savings and arbiter histories had a hard time finding a modest home, he added. Some were forced to move out of town, including a woman in her 50s who resorted to a room in a shared house two hours away.

“We are seeing this story played out in many towns and suburbs in Victoria right now,” he said.

NSW Tenants Union chief executive Leo Patterson Ross said the state of the rental market was “a mess”. Rents and evictions for no reason were rising, and some tenants who were evicted were struggling to find a new property in time.

“We are hearing from people with over 100 applications,” he said, adding that the housing application process was also becoming more intrusive, with some tenants being asked to provide links to their social media profile.

“Given the labor summit [last week]this inability to ensure that people have good quality homes, that are close to where they work, is something that we really need to get a handle on because it is affecting people’s ability to maintain employment,” he said.

“We need to recognize housing as an essential service…and where the private market doesn’t provide available and affordable housing, then government needs to step in.”

Both Coates and Farouque also called on governments to do more to boost housing supply, particularly affordable and social housing, and wanted an increase in Commonwealth Rental Assistance. Farouque also called on the Victorian government to seek limits on rent increases.

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