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Aussies hit with $125 hike as rentals dwindle

Aussies will find it harder to find a rental, as the number of available properties fall.

Rental inspection. For lease sign.
Aussies will have a harder time finding a rental, as the number of available properties drops and rents surge. (Source: Getty)

It’s more bad news for Aussie renters, as the number of available properties drops and rent prices surge.

Only about 1 per cent of rental properties in Australia are available for rent, according to new analysis by SQM Research - down from 1.6 per cent this time last year.

Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra all recorded drops in their vacancy rates in January. Hobart was the only city to record an increase to the number of available rentals, from 0.6 per cent to 0.7 per cent.

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Meanwhile, rents have continued to skyrocket. Capital city asking rents increased 24.7 per cent over the past year to $633 on average - or about $125 per week.

Sydney recorded the biggest weekly rent hike, surging 29.6 per cent to $744 per week on average - or about $170 more a week. Meanwhile, Melbourne and Brisbane prices both increased 24.8 per cent to $549 per week and $594 per week, respectively.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said things wouldn’t be looking up in the near future.

“We are expecting a further tightening in rental vacancy rates over the month of February, based on evidence that weekly listings have fallen again thus far in the current month,” Christopher said.

“We have previously warned that the months of February and March will be the most difficult time for tenants in the national rental market in many years. Thereafter, we are hoping for some relief, given the expected increases in dwelling completions and an overall reduction in housing formation.”

If you are facing a rent increase and you think it is excessive, Tenants Union NSW said there were options.

“Ask to meet with the landlord/agent. You can offer to pay a little extra rent per week or to pay the increase gradually over six-12 months. If the landlord/agent seems interested, put a proposal in writing,” it said.

Another option is applying to the tribunal for an excessive-rent order. The tribunal will consider a range of factors, including rents for similar properties in your area. You can use Tenants Union NSW’s Rent Tracker Postcode tool to get an idea of where you stand.

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