Brisbane Rental Crisis: What Can We Do Now?

August 18, 2023

Key takeaways:

  • Rental costs and competition for housing in Brisbane are rising, leaving low-income households struggling to secure affordable housing.
  • The rental crisis is having detrimental impacts on tenants and local communities, including decreased access to secure and affordable housing.
  • Collaboration between the government, private sector & councils is necessary to develop solutions such as increased supply of social/affordable housing & diversifying regional Queensland’s options.

Brisbane’s rental crisis, known as the “Brisbane rental crisis,” has reached a tipping point, with soaring rental costs, limited housing availability, and an influx of migrants contributing to a perfect storm of housing stress.

As more Queenslanders struggle to find secure and affordable housing, urgent action is needed to address this growing issue.

The Current State of Brisbane’s Rental Crisis

The Brisbane rental crisis is marked by skyrocketing rental costs, a significant housing deficit, and an increased demand for rental properties due to migration.

Low-income households are particularly affected by these factors, as they struggle to secure affordable housing in the face of fierce competition and limited housing supply.

Recent reports have identified a shortage of around 650,000 houses in Brisbane, further exacerbating the issue. With high demand and limited housing supply, the consequences are significant.

  • Rental prices continue to climb
  • Households are affected by the increasing cost of renting
  • The local economy is impacted by the lack of affordable housing
  • Social cohesion is affected as people struggle to find suitable housing

Soaring rental costs

Reports from September 2022 showed that median rents in Brisbane had risen by 33% for houses and 23% for apartments since March 2020. To understand the specifics of these rates, one can explore how much is rent in Brisbane.

This increase in rental costs has put enormous financial strain on many households, leaving them with little choice but to resort to sharehouse living or face the risk of homelessness.

The median rent for a sharehouse room in Brisbane is now $260 per week, making it increasingly difficult for low-income households to find affordable housing options. However, there are some cheap houses for rent in Brisbane for those who know where to look.

Limited housing availability

Brisbane’s housing market is experiencing a severe shortage, with an estimated deficit of 650,000 houses. This shortage makes it incredibly challenging for tenants, especially for those who are not familiar with how to rent a house in Brisbane.

To address this issue, collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors are necessary to identify suitable land, expedite building procedures, and overcome other obstacles in increasing housing supply.

While some progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to meet the growing demand for affordable housing in Brisbane.

Migration influx and its effects

The influx of migrants to Brisbane has led to heightened demand for rental properties, resulting in fierce competition and rising rental prices. As more people arrive in the city, the already limited housing supply struggles to keep up with the increasing demand.

This heightened demand has a domino effect on rental prices, making it even harder for low-income households to secure affordable housing. As a result, many families are forced into temporary or substandard living conditions, further exacerbating the rental crisis.

Consequences of the Rental Crisis on Tenants and Local Communities

brisbane rental crisis

The rental crisis in Brisbane has far-reaching consequences for tenants and local communities. With the rising housing prices, those who are new to the city often wonder about the best places to rent in Brisbane.

As a result:

  • Access to secure and affordable housing becomes increasingly difficult to attain
  • Social cohesion suffers
  • Inequality widens
  • Renters face escalating housing costs
  • Low vacancy rates and limited available properties put immense pressure on their financial well-being and quality of life.

Young children and families are particularly impacted by the rental crisis, as they are often the most vulnerable and least able to cope with the financial strain. The consequences of the rental crisis extend beyond just housing, affecting mental health, education, and overall well-being.

The burden of housing stress

The cost of rent in Brisbane is becoming an increasingly concerning issue. This is known as ‘housing stress’ and is characterised by tenants paying more than one-third of their income towards rent.

High rents negatively impact tenants’ well-being and access to essential services, leading to increased stress levels and financial hardship.

To combat housing stress, the following measures are necessary:

  • Government funding to increase housing supply
  • Zoning regulations to facilitate the expansion of housing supply
  • Implementation of zoning and planning regulations by the Brisbane City Council

These measures will provide much-needed relief for those struggling with the burden of housing stress.

Welfare recipients and rental affordability

Welfare recipients in Brisbane are severely impacted by the rental crisis, often being unable to access affordable rentals, and thus having to endure substandard living conditions or homelessness. A shocking 0.3% of properties surveyed in Brisbane were accessible to someone on income support.

Government initiatives, such as rent assistance and social housing, can help reduce housing stress for welfare recipients. Additionally, the Brisbane City Council can contribute by providing more affordable housing options, and private sector involvement can assist in increasing the availability of affordable housing.

Collaborative Solutions for Social and Affordable Housing

brisbane rental crisis

In order to tackle the rental crisis in Brisbane, a comprehensive approach is necessary, involving collaborative efforts between the government, Brisbane City Council, and the private sector. By working together, these entities can increase the availability of affordable rental properties and address the housing crisis.

Various strategies can be employed to provide secure and affordable housing for Brisbane’s residents. These strategies include:

  • Government-backed build-to-rent schemes
  • Disrupting the “small-scale landlordism” dominating Australia’s rental market
  • Inclusionary zoning aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing

The combined efforts of these stakeholders are essential in achieving this goal.

Government initiatives

Government initiatives, such as rental caps and pilot build-to-rent schemes, can play a significant role in controlling rental prices and increasing affordable housing options.

Real estate agents can provide valuable insights into these pilot build-to-rent schemes, which involve constructing rental properties managed by a single entity, typically offering longer lease periods and lower rent than what is available on the rental property market.

Around 490 of the 1,200 units produced in the approved developments will be given subsidies. These properties will be offered as affordable rental homes.

Housing groups have expressed their approval of such government interventions, indicating a positive step towards addressing the rental crisis in Brisbane.

Brisbane City Council’s contribution

Brisbane City Council can play a pivotal role in addressing the rental crisis by:

  • Using zoning and planning regulations to expand housing supply
  • Promoting affordability
  • Providing incentives By streamlining the process for building approvals and encouraging the development of affordable housing, the council can make a significant impact on alleviating housing stress.

The council has already provided financial contributions to support affordable housing initiatives, demonstrating their commitment to addressing the rental crisis. Continued efforts in this direction will be crucial in helping Brisbane residents secure affordable housing.

Private sector participation

The private sector plays an integral role in addressing the rental crisis in Brisbane, particularly through engaging in affordable rental housing construction and build-to-rent programs in partnership with the government.

By investing in affordable housing projects and collaborating with public entities, the private sector can help increase the availability of affordable rental properties.

Various strategies can be employed by the private sector, including:

  • Public-private partnerships
  • Mixed tenure developments
  • Tax subsidies for affordable supply
  • Home ownership schemes
  • Social impact investing

The involvement of the private sector is essential for a comprehensive approach to tackling the rental crisis in Brisbane.

Tackling the Rental Crisis in Regional Queensland

Addressing the rental crisis in regional Queensland, including the Gold Coast rental market, is essential for overall improvement. By implementing measures used in Brisbane, such as diversifying housing options and promoting collaboration between the government and private sector, the rental crisis in regional Queensland can be effectively tackled.

The rental market in Queensland is facing similar challenges. Demand is high and prices are increasing, making the supply of rental properties tight. Therefore, it is crucial to apply the lessons learned in Brisbane to address the rental crisis in regional Queensland.

Challenges in the Gold Coast rental market

The Gold Coast rental market, much like Brisbane, is experiencing high demand, rising prices, and a limited rental supply. The Gold Coast median rent for houses is $1,073 per week. Units have a lower median rent of $741 per week.

With such high rental costs, more than one-third of tenants in Logan, Beaudesert, and the Gold Coast are paying more than one-third of their income on rent.

By implementing measures used in Brisbane, such as increasing housing supply, promoting collaboration between the government and private sector, and diversifying housing options, the rental crisis in the Gold Coast can be effectively tackled.

Diversifying housing options

brisbane rental crisis

Diversifying housing options can have a significant impact on the rental crisis in regional Queensland. By increasing the availability of housing and decreasing rental costs, local communities can benefit, and economic growth can be promoted.

Strategies to diversify housing options in regional Queensland include:

  • Collaborating with councils to increase and diversify the supply of housing
  • Developing regional plans
  • Loosening planning controls
  • Investigating prefab homes on small lots
  • Implementing the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027

By employing these strategies, the rental crisis in regional Queensland can be effectively addressed.


The rental crisis in Brisbane and regional Queensland has reached a critical point, with soaring rental costs, limited housing availability, and an influx of migrants contributing to a perfect storm of housing stress.

Tackling this crisis requires a comprehensive approach, involving collaborative efforts between the government, Brisbane City Council, and the private sector to increase the availability of affordable rental properties and address the housing crisis.

By learning from the challenges faced in Brisbane and implementing measures to diversify housing options and promote collaboration, we can work towards a more secure and affordable housing future for all Queenslanders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is rent in Brisbane so expensive?

Rent in Brisbane is expensive due to the pandemic-induced work from home trend, low-interest rates, housing shortage and high demand for rental properties.

The average house rent rose by 12.9% in 2021 and units rent increased by 14.3% in 2022.

Why is there a rental crisis in Qld?

The rental crisis in Queensland is largely due to the skyrocketing rental market, with median rents rising substantially over the last five years. This is compounded by pressures from the pandemic that have left Australia-wide vacancy rates at rock-bottom levels.

As a result, Queensland has been particularly hard hit by this post-COVID housing storm.

Is there a housing shortage in Brisbane?

The Queensland Premier has convened an extraordinary housing summit in October 2022 and the Brisbane Lord Mayor has declared the housing shortage a crisis. There is an unmet need for social housing exceeding 100,000 households and data shows more than 1,000 people sought help from housing support organisations last month.

Clearly, there is a housing shortage in Brisbane.

Are 87000 Queensland properties empty despite rental shortage?

Despite the worst rental crisis in Queensland’s history, approximately 87,000 homes remain vacant across the state, prompting calls for penalties against owners who are not renting them out.

Penalties could include fines, increased taxes, or other measures to incentivise owners to rent out their properties. This could help alleviate the rental crisis and provide more affordable housing for those in need.

What factors have contributed to the rental crisis in Brisbane?

Rising rental costs, low housing supply, and increasing migration have all combined to create the current rental crisis in Brisbane.

The situation has become so dire that many people are struggling to find affordable housing in the city. Rents have risen significantly in the past few years, and the supply of available housing has not kept up with demand.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
Share this article
Don’t waste time searching for a home. Let our AI do the work
Soho logo

Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier 

Soho logo
Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.