Renters struggle in Australia’s most expensive city: ‘Pains me’

Aussies have shared how much it costs them to live in Canberra as rents in the nation’s capital surge.

TikToker Jamie Zhu took to the streets of Canberra to ask young Aussies how much they paid in rent, and some of the answers were surprising.

From one man who said he “probably” paid around $550 per week to live in a one-bedroom unit in Downer, to a young woman who claimed she paid $150 per week for a two-bedroom unit in Braddon because “of her age”.

But the reality was more clear in the comments of the video, with many users claiming renting in Canberra was becoming unbearable.

“Uh, do I live in a different Canberra to these people? I need to find these magical cheap rentals,” one user said.

“It pains me to pay rent here in Canberra after being a homeowner in Canada,” another said.

Canberra the most expensive city for renters

Despite plenty of moaning and groaning from the other capitals (which is still justified), Canberra takes the cake for being Australia’s most expensive city to rent.

The Domain Rent Report for the March quarter actually spelt a fairly dire situation for all major cities, as the rental market remained firmly locked in favour of landlords.

“Across the combined capitals, we’re now seeing the longest stretch of continuous rental price growth on record as house rents rise for the eighth quarter in a row and unit rents rise for the seventh,” Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell said.

“For the first time since 2009, all capital cities have record house rents, highlighting the rental crisis the country is currently going through.”

A chart showing the median rental prices from around the nation for houses.
(Source: Domain)
A chart showing the median rental prices from around the nation for units.
(Source: Domain)

What is pushing up rents?

There are a couple of reasons rents are so high, but it mostly has to do with supply and demand.

The Domain report said the amount it cost to rent a house surged by $135 a week and units by $140 a week across the combined capital cities since the pandemic low.

Units were accelerating faster than houses, which is partially due to the fact that many budget-conscious tenants switched to living in units, and there had been a major uptick in overseas migration, international students and temporary visa holders.

“The return of international travel in 2021 and 2022 saw Australia’s net overseas migration gain hit almost 304,000 new people in the 12 months to September 2022, providing a significant boost of population gain for Australia,” Powell said.

“The impact of migration was further highlighted following the announcement from China’s Ministry of Education to stop acknowledging degrees gained online in January. This saw the number of rental searches on Domain from China jump 124 per cent over the March quarter, compared to last year.

“With more demand for rentals and not enough supply, renters will continue to face limited choices and tough competition, particularly for cities that traditionally see a higher intake of residents from overseas like Sydney and Melbourne.


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