Rents nudge higher in October

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HOUSING rents across Victoria have risen in October as vacancy rates remained at a low 2%.

REIV data showed the median rental increased by $10 for houses to $470 per week in Melbourne through the month, while units are $10 higher year-on-year at $430.

Inner Melbourne saw vacancies remain at 1.9% and house rents jump by $30 to $660 in October. Vacancies in the middle suburbs firmed to 3.0% and rents lifted by $10 to $480 – now $30 higher than 12 months ago – the outer suburbs remained at 2.2% and $400.

Unit rents through the inner suburbs have held at $450, while middle ring rents inched upwards to $428 and to $375 in the outer suburbs for a metro median of $430.

REIV president Leah Calnan said a lack of housing has led to renters paying a premium.

“There is an urgent need for more rental accommodation across Victoria.

“Healthy vacancy rates should be around 4%; most of the state is sitting at 1 or 2%, increasing demand has led to rental price climbing.”

Vacancies across major regional centres in Victoria were steady at a tight 1.6%. Geelong and the Barwon region was steady across the board at 2.0% and $400 for houses; Bendigo & Loddon eased from 1.1% to 1.4% but rent jumped from $323 to $340, and Ballarat and the Central Highlands held at 1.7% with a small decline in rents to $323.

Geelong a spike in unit rents from $308 to $340 in October. Ballarat rents lifted from $275 to $290, and Bendigo eased to $280. Regional unit rents are at $290.

Calnan said that with changes to the Residential Tenancy Act coming in next year, landlords “remain confused and cautious about losing control over their investment.”

“Our members have reported to us that many homes have been sold or are being kept off the market, leading to a surge in housing demand.

“With competition for housing at a high, many families are struggling to put a roof over their heads, which puts a lot of pressure on local welfare groups.

“The State Government needs to do more to work with landlords and encourage them to rent out their investment homes.

“New rental homes are being leased out in record time, therefore more owners should be encouraged to put their property on the rental market.”

According to the latest Rental Affordability Index, released by the National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, SGS Economics & Planning and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, showed Hobart remains the least affordable city to rent in Australia, while Adelaide has overtaken Sydney and jumped into second place.

The report also said that Newstart recipients who are renting are living in poverty.

The RAI is an indicator of the price of rents relative to household incomes based on new rental agreements and is released annually by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, said renting retirees are suffering at the hands of the current pension system, and a safety net will be needed to support the growing demographic as more of Australia’s population defers home ownership indefinitely.

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