Average housing rents grew to record levels over the June quarter, with rising prices making Adelaide homes just as pricey as Melbourne

  • The average Australian house now costs a record $477 a week to rent, according to Domain.
  • Lockdown lifestyle changes and the resilience of working from home contributed to June quarter increases in every major city bar Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Thanks to a strong Adelaide rental market, average house rents in the City of Churches are equal with Melbourne prices.
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Australia’s average house rental price has risen to a record $477 a week, according to a new Domain report, which suggests working from home and lockdown-inspired lifestyle changes have boosted interest in larger living quarters.

At the same time, those changes — and Australia’s closed international border — have collapsed Melbourne’s unit rental market. And the city’s average house now costs $430 a week to rent, the equal lowest in the nation.

In its June quarter report, released Thursday, Domain states weekly asking rents for houses in Australia’s metro centres have skyrocketed over the year, with significant increases in the last three months.

Canberra remains the priciest city in which to rent a house, with an average asking price of $630 a week, up $30 from the March quarter.

Darwin has also recorded an extraordinary bump, with the average house now going for $593 weekly — up more than 20% from June 2020 levels.

Brisbane and Perth have kept up their long-running increases, too, with houses in both city going for an average of $450 a week.

While average house rents remained flat at $550 a week over the quarter for Sydney as a whole, Domain states the rental market has been red hot away from the city centre.

“Remote working has encouraged tenants to shift to the outer suburbs or lifestyle locations within Greater Sydney,” wrote Domain Chief of Research and Economics Nicola Powell.

“Rents for houses and units hit record highs over the June quarter in the Northern Beaches, Central Coast and outer west and Blue Mountains, while houses are at peak prices in Sutherland, the outer south west and Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury region.”

In Melbourne, the average weekly asking rent for a house is $430, the same as it was in June 2020 — weeks before the city entered its longest and most gruelling COVID-19 lockdown.

That figure means Melbourne homes are, on average, as affordable to rent as standalone properties in Adelaide, a city which has seen its housing rental prices grow nearly 9% over the past 12 months.

As in Sydney, weekly rates for houses on Melbourne’s outskirts are the exception to the rule.

Concurrently, inner-city unit rents remain suppressed, although Domain notes these vacancies are declining as some residents take advantage of cut-price rates.

“This is the steepest downwards adjustment in unit asking rents that Melbourne has ever recorded,” Powell stated.

“This is providing tenants with an opportunity to negotiate rent or shift to an area that has experienced significant reductions.”

Figures released by Domain in June suggested that many renters are flocking to regions which traditionally catered to international students, many of whom have been locked out of the country since the national hard border scheme began last March.