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Rental havoc in Sydney as hundreds queue for inspections: 'Insane'

Footage shows how out-of-control the Australian rental market is.

Queues for rental property inspections in Sydney
A dearth of available rental properties is forcing Sydneysiders to compete with scores of other prospective tenants. (Source: TikTok)

The Sydney property market continues to be a challenge for renters, as evidenced by videos posted on social media showing queues of would-be tenants snaking along footpaths.

In one TikTok clip, former real estate agent Danny Da Rocha arrived to view an $800-per-week apartment in Zetland alongside 30 other prospective tenants. By the time he was shown up to the unit, more than 60 people had arrived to view the two-bedroom property.

Viewers were shocked to see the flat was left untidy and overlooked a large building site.

"$3,200 a month for that is obscene," commented one viewer.

"I love the balcony overlooking construction. Definitely worth $800," a second wrote sarcastically.

"The sand pit view will be getting developed in 2-3 years, all you will hear is the construction," Da Rocha replied.

It appears there has been little improvement in the situation for renters since last October, when realestate.com.au revealed the total number of available rental properties in Australia fell 20.5 per cent compared to the previous year, with available rental properties at the lowest level since mid-2003.

Irish newcomer to Australia Ciara O'Loughlin also shared her struggle trying to get a rental property in Sydney this week on TikTok.

"Crazy stuff," she wrote on a video showing long lines of people trying to see the 12 properties she viewed in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

"I'd say the longest queue was easily between 100 and 150 people," O'loughlin told Daily Mail Australia.

The rental crisis isn't unique to Sydney, with similar queues at property inspections reported in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and even regional locations.

"We really have to go back and look at periods like the Great Depression to find comparable situations for renters in Australia at the moment," Leo Patterson Ross, CEO of the Tenants' Union of NSW, told Daily Mail.

"We haven't seen such low vacancy rates where people are very worried, very distressed about their chances of being housed in the coming weeks or months."

Australian rent values have lifted 22.2 per cent since September 2020, marking the largest rental upswing on record. During the 27-month period, the median weekly rent valuation across Australian dwellings rose from $430 per week to $519.

Some relief on the way

In more positive news for Aussie renters, price growth is starting to show signs of slowing. CoreLogic's quarterly rental review found rent prices increased 10.2 per cent in 2022, but this slowed to 2 per cent in the December quarter - down from 2.3 per cent in September and 3 per cent in the three months to May.

CoreLogic head of research and report author Eliza Owen said December marked the second consecutive quarter that the pace of growth slowed, and coincided with a small lift in the rental vacancy rate to 1.17 per cent in December - up from a recent low of 1.05 per cent in the previous month.

"While a slowdown in the pace of rent rises could be a sign that the rental market is starting to shift, it’s not great news for tenants just yet. Rents are still rising in most capital cities and regional areas with vacancy rates low," Owen said.

She added that, despite an increase in rental listings through December, there were still 13.8 per cent fewer available properties compared to the previous five-year average for this time of year. However, with another seasonal uplift in advertised rents expected in the next few weeks, rental price growth could ease further.

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