Melbourne Surpasses Brisbane in House Rental Affordability

Last Thursday Domain released its quarterly report on rental prices Australia-wide and surprisingly, Melbourne has now surpassed Brisbane in rental affordability for houses. The Queensland capital is seeing the highest number of inter-state incomers since 2006, on top of its share of the hundreds of thousands of Australians who returned home over the course of 2020.

Meanwhile, Melbourne is now on par with Perth and only barely behind Adelaide in terms of housing rental affordability. The Victorian capital is in third place when it comes to apartment rentals.

Covid-19 saw marked rental price decreases across Australia in the six months from March 2020. Yet while prices have stabilised in other states and territories, Melbourne prices continue to move downward.

Meanwhile, Canberra followed by Sydney remain the most expensive capital cities in which to rent a house or apartment. Yet with the tree-change shift triggered by remote work, both are now eclipsed by ritzy regional destinations.

Byron Shire is now seeing average rents of $885 per week, a 26.5 percent increase since the start of the pandemic. In the December quarter, Byron’s median house price was $1.21 million.

Wingecarribee Shire, the area in and around Bowral, sees rent at $525 per week, while further down the coast in the Shoalhaven area, which includes Berry and Jervis Bay, average rent sits at $500.

Victoria’s Surf Coast sees rent at an average of $520 per week. It also saw a 5% jump to $1.04 million of the median house price.

Although the prices suggest a major exodus from the capital cities, the statistics are more prosaic. According to the ABS, just 35,720 people left the capital cities for regional areas during 2020. This could be taken as a great example of the fact that pricing is made on the margins.

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