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Bleak outlook for state’s renters

SYDNEY RENTAL QUEUES
The number of homes occupied by renters in Victoria has plummeted by more than 10,000. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

The number of homes occupied by renters in Victoria plummeted by more than 10,000 in the first three months of 2024, new data has revealed.

The report by government-run Homes Victoria found renter-occupied homes fell by 15,600 in a year, well below the 10-year annual average.

Over the past decade, the average number of active rental bonds increased by 3.1 per cent but fell in March 2024 to just 658,106.

When a home is leased in Victoria, the bond is lodged with the bond authority, giving the government a measure of the total number of homes being rented.

Total active residential bonds in Victoria by annual percentage change. Picture; Homes Victoria
Total active residential bonds in Victoria by annual percentage change. Picture; Homes Victoria
Number of active bonds in Melbourne by suburb. Picture: Homes Victoria
Number of active bonds in Melbourne by suburb. Picture: Homes Victoria

Over the past year, the number of active bonds fell by 2.7 per cent in metropolitan Melbourne and by 0.8 per cent in regional parts of the state.

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During the same time, the number of new lettings also plummeted by 11.8 per cent to 52,514 – in Melbourne, it fell by 12.6 per cent

The number of new lettings decreased in all metropolitan Melbourne regions, with the northeast the worst hit at -19.8 per cent.

As for the cost of rent, the median rent in metro Melbourne increased by $30 to $560 per week in the March quarter and by $15 to $445 in the regions.

Moving annual moving rents by suburb for a two-bedroom flat in Melbourne. Picture: Homes Victoria
Moving annual moving rents by suburb for a two-bedroom flat in Melbourne. Picture: Homes Victoria

In the March quarter, the median rent for all types of properties – one to four-bedrooms – increased in both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

In the state’s capital, the highest median rent was for a three-bedroom flat at $650 per week, while the lowest was for one bedroom at $490.

Nonetheless, the largest rent index increase in the March quarter was in one-bedroom properties (7.8 per cent).

For two-bedroom flats, the annual median rent increased in all suburbs; for three-bedroom rentals, it increased in all but one.