Rental Market in Australia in 2023

September 20, 2023
rental market in australia

Key takeaways:

    • The Australian rental market is characterized by tightening vacancy rates, increasing rents and supply constraints due to factors such as the formation of new households and return of international students.

    • Renters in Australia are facing affordability issues while investors face risks such as liquidity, debt collection, financing and time scarcity.

    • Strategies for navigating the rental market include conducting research on long term growth prospects & target tenants. Renters should consider alternative locations & negotiate with landlords. Investors should focus on tenant needs to maximize returns.

Welcome to the ever-evolving landscape of the rental market in Australia. As we journey through the fluctuations and challenges faced by renters and property investors, we will uncover the intricate dynamics at play in this complex market.

Be prepared to delve into the intricacies of demand factors, supply constraints, regional and capital city rental markets, and the impact of interest rates and government policies on the rental market in Australia.

Suggested reading: Learn about how a rental estimate can help you prepare for your next move.

The Current State of Australia’s Rental Market

The Australian rental market has experienced significant changes in recent times, largely due to factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tightening vacancy rates and increasing rents have driven demand, while supply constraints have further exacerbated the situation, leading to a rental crisis in some areas.

A confluence of factors, including restricted supply in the private rental market and increased immigration, has led to the current state of the rental market.

Demand Factors

With the need for additional living space, the formation of new households, and the return of international students, the demand for rental properties in the private Australian rental market has surged.

This influx of new residents entering Australia, including net overseas migration, has generated further demand for rental properties.

Moreover, the decrease in household size has generated a demand equal to approximately 70% of the homes constructed in Australia in 2022, affecting the median weekly rent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on the rental market. Lockdowns and health concerns resulted in an increased demand for more space and fewer people living together, affecting both private rental properties and rental assistance properties.

Record levels of overseas migrants and a shortage of rental listings have been contributing factors to the disparity between rental demand and supply, making it difficult for renters to find a suitable rental property.

The resurgence of international migration, especially among students, has boosted the need for affordable rental accommodation in major cities.

Supply Constraints

The rental market in Australia’s capital cities has been notably affected by supply constraints. The key factors contributing to this are:

  1. Decreasing quantity of newly-listed properties for sale, including private rental properties.
  2. Decline in the pipeline of new dwellings approved but not yet completed.
  3. Stagnating growth in dwelling supply due to building approvals for new homes reaching a decade low.

These supply constraints have resulted in an imbalance of supply and demand in the rental market.

These supply constraints are further exacerbated by factors such as:

  • an increase in freight costs
  • material costs
  • labour shortages
  • a decrease in the delivery of new rental supply

The rental market’s composition has also shifted, with fewer large-scale development projects in the planning stages, contributing to the overall supply constraints.

Regional vs. Capital City Rental Markets

rental market in australia regional vs capital city

The effects of the pandemic on regional and capital city rental markets have varied significantly. Rent prices and migration patterns have played a significant role in shaping these markets.

“Rents in more remote regional areas have risen substantially, primarily due to increasing populations and few available rental properties. This rise has been particularly dramatic when located near a capital city.”

Conversely, demand for rental properties in inner-city markets has decreased as a result of factors such as international students returning home, international migration slowing down, and some young adults moving back in with their parents.

Lockdowns have created a surge in the desire for more space. People are leaving densely populated inner-city areas to embrace a larger living area.

Rent Price Disparities

While rent prices have generally surged in regional areas, some inner-city sectors in Melbourne and Sydney still linger below pre-pandemic rates.

This disparity in rent prices highlights the unique challenges faced by renters in different parts of Australia, with regional areas experiencing greater rent inflation due to population inflows and low vacancy rates.

Meanwhile, some inner-city markets struggle to recover from the pandemic’s impact.

Migration Patterns

Migration patterns during the pandemic have played an important role in influencing rental markets in Australia. Some key factors that have contributed to these changes include:

  • Individuals relocating to regional areas from capital cities
  • Alterations in demand and rent prices
  • The impact of the pandemic on migration patterns
  • Employment growth in certain areas
  • Perceived lifestyle benefits of living in different regions

These factors have all had a significant impact on migration patterns and rental markets in Australia.

Despite the challenges posed by changing migration patterns and increasing interest rates, numerous regional markets remain attractive to newcomers due to:

  • The appeal of prosperous job opportunities
  • Reasonable housing prices
  • The increase in rent prices in regional areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, attributed to a shift in preference among many households for more space
  • Net population flows

The Impact of Interest Rates and Government Policies on the Rental Market

rental market in australia impact on interest rates

Interest rates and government policies have significantly influenced the rental market, yielding both positive and negative outcomes for renters and property investors.

For example, consecutive interest rate rises, persistently high inflation, and waning consumer sentiment have had a deleterious effect on house values in regional areas such as:

  • Richmond-Tweed
  • Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Gold Coast
  • Illawarra
  • Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Furthermore, the impact of this year’s floods, coupled with seven consecutive rate rises, has further accentuated the decline in house values in the Richmond-Tweed region.

Interest Rate Fluctuations

Variable interest rates have influenced both the affordability of rental properties and the decision-making of property investors.

Higher interest rates may result in landlords needing to raise rental prices to cover their mortgage repayments, while rising interest rates can also lead to an increase in unemployment, making it difficult for some renters to pay for their rental properties.

Market dynamics such as migration patterns and housing affordability can independently influence rental demand and prices, regardless of interest rate changes.

Government Initiatives

Government initiatives like first-home buyer support and rental assistance programs have altered the rental market dynamics by:

  • Boosting demand
  • Offering respite to renters
  • Facilitating the entry of first-home buyers into the market
  • Resulting in an increase in the demand for rental properties

Financial assistance has been granted to renters in the form of rent subsidies and rental assistance programs, providing relief for renters struggling to afford their rental properties.

The Challenges Faced by Renters and Property Investors

In the Australian rental market, which includes private rental properties, renters and property investors grapple with a range of challenges, encompassing affordability concerns and the complexity of a competitive market.

“The affordability issues faced by renters and property investors have been exacerbated by rising rents and low vacancy rates, making it difficult for many to find suitable housing.”

Property investors, on the other hand, must contend with a competitive market, weigh the risks and rewards of investing in rental properties, and adjust to changing market conditions.

Affordability Issues

Affordability has become a notable issue for renters. The primary affordability issues encountered by renters in Australia include:

  • Very low rental vacancy rates
  • Increasing rent levels
  • Deteriorating housing affordability for lower income households
  • Unaffordable rents for singles
  • The general worsening of affordability.

The affordability issues experienced by renters in Australia have a considerable influence on their capacity to locate adequate housing.

  • Low rental vacancy rates signify that there is restricted availability of rental properties
  • Escalating rent levels make it arduous for many to manage suitable housing
  • This is especially true for lower income households, singles, and those on fixed incomes.

Potential solutions to the affordability issues confronted by renters in Australia include:

  • Augmenting the supply of rental properties
  • Providing incentives for landlords to decrease rent levels
  • Instituting government policies to enhance housing affordability

Investor Challenges

Property investors face numerous challenges in navigating the Australian rental market. Some of the primary challenges encountered by property investors in Australia include:

  • Market risk
  • Liquidity risk
  • Specific risk
  • Interest rate increases
  • Debt collection
  • Procuring financing
  • Scarcity of time
  • Emotional decision making
  • Making expeditious decisions

The risks associated with investing in rental properties include market risk, liquidity risk, specific risk, and the potential for an increase in interest rates.

However, the rewards associated with investing in rental properties include the possibility of capital growth, the provision of regular income, and potential tax benefits.

To ensure they are adapting to changing market conditions, investors can stay apprised of market trends, diversify their investments, and be prepared to modify their strategies as necessary.

Strategies for Navigating the Australian Rental Market

While navigating the Australian rental market may seem overwhelming, both renters and property investors can achieve success with appropriate strategies.

Being proactive in the search for rental properties, considering alternative locations, and negotiating with landlords are all helpful tips for renters, while conducting thorough research, focusing on long-term growth prospects, and considering the needs of their target tenant demographic can benefit property investors.

Tips for Renters

To improve their chances of finding affordable rental housing, renters should be proactive in their search by investigating the rental market in their desired area, attending open houses, and reaching out to landlords directly.

Consider alternative locations, such as suburbs or towns that may offer more economical housing options, is also a valuable strategy for renters.

Being prepared to negotiate rent prices, lease terms, and other conditions with landlords can also make a significant difference in securing affordable housing.

Advice for Property Investors

Property investors can benefit from conducting thorough research before making any investment decisions, allowing them to make informed choices in the rental market.

Focusing on long-term growth prospects can assist property investors in maximizing their returns in the Australian rental market.

Additionally, considering the needs of the intended tenant demographic can help property investors recognize the most lucrative rental prospects in the Australian rental market.

The Future Outlook of Australia’s Rental Market

rental market in australia future outlook

The future trajectory of Australia’s rental market encompasses short-term forecasts of continued market tightening and rent hikes, as well as long-term projections shaped by elements like population growth and economic conditions.

Interest rate variations and government measures can have a considerable influence on the rental market, with low-interest rates stimulating investment while government policies impact the accessibility of credit and the supply and demand ratio.

Short-Term Projections

In the short term, the rental market in Australia is expected to remain tight, with the following factors having an effect:

  • Rent inflation continuing to rise
  • Larger rent increases for new tenants
  • Fluctuations in interest rates
  • Government initiatives
  • The Housing Asking Prices Index

These factors are likely to continue to influence the rental market in the near future, making it more attractive.

Long-Term Prospects

Long-term prospects for the rental market will be influenced by factors such as population growth, housing supply, and economic conditions.

Population growth has been a crucial factor in sustaining Australia’s property markets, and with the opening of borders and the acceptance of over 200,000 foreign migrants, population growth is expected to rise again.

These factors, along with potential challenges and opportunities for both renters and property investors, will shape the future of Australia’s rental market and the Australian property market.


In conclusion, the Australian rental market is a complex landscape influenced by factors such as demand and supply constraints, regional and capital city rental markets, interest rates, and government policies.

As we have explored the challenges faced by renters and property investors, it is evident that understanding these dynamics is essential for navigating this market successfully.

With the right strategies in place and a keen eye on the future outlook, both renters and property investors can thrive in Australia’s ever-evolving rental market.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the rental market in Australia?

The rental market in Australia is currently tight, with rent increases recorded across 96.3% of suburbs and median rents increasing in all states since 2021.

The cash rate hikes and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in reduced housing investment lending and more demand for space.

Rental affordability is particularly challenged in regional areas, where some rents have risen as much as 50%.

Is there a rental shortage in Australia?

Australia’s ultra-low vacancy rates and low supply of dwellings, combined with high demand and a rising population, have led to a rental crisis.

Are rental prices dropping Australia?

Rental prices in Australia have been steadily increasing over the past year, with advertised rental prices rising 11.5% since June 2023 and CPI rents going up around 5%.

This suggests that rent is likely to continue rising in 2023.

How big is the rental market in Australia?

The residential rental market in Australia is sizeable, with close to 30% of all households renting their homes and an industry revenue of 8.6 billion in 2022.

Additionally, the fastest growth is seen in the top end of the market, including luxury apartments and detached homes.

What factors have contributed to the increased demand for rental properties in Australia?

The formation of new households, the return of international students and the need for additional living space have all contributed to the increased demand for rental properties in Australia.

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