Fierce competition for rental homes is expected to continue and prices will keep going up due to dwindling supply, Australian property market commentators say.
Images online show the extent of the current rental crisis with hundreds of people queuing for basic accommodation — and experts say there's no end in sight.
"National rents are at historic highs and the market has never been tighter," Domain managing editor domestic Alice Stolz told Today show hosts on Thursday. Ray White Real Estate chief economist Nerida Conisbee agreed "it is really difficult at the moment" and said, "there are a whole lot of factors leading to this really, really strong competition for property".
With more people working from home, renters are moving out of share homes and into places of their own. At the same time, international borders have reopened and interstate migration and tourism have resumed.
"We know rates have been increasing since the start of the pandemic and that rate of increase has accelerated as population growth has started up again," Ms Conisbee told Sunrise on Thursday morning. "We also have a housing supply shortage and that is not being helped by rising construction costs — housing approvals are down 15 per cent".
Last year, Sydney rental prices jumped 18.6 per cent for units and 12.1 per cent for houses, according to Domain's rental data. Brisbane was up 14.6 per cent, Hobart 10 per cent and Perth 15 per cent year on year. The Gold Coast has also seen a significant jump in prices.
Australia's rental crisis to continue
Is there an end in sight? "Not at the moment," Ms Conisbee said. "The issue being that population growth has started, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, we have a lot of international and interstate migration," she added.
PropTrack's Cameron Kusher said "rental prices will continue to grow in the capital cities over the coming months," Nine News reported. "Demand for rental stock remains heightened and supply continues to be limited," he added.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) January 11, 2023
Hundreds of applicants for rental properties
Hopeful tenants have found themselves battling it out for a roof over their heads with sometimes hundreds of people lining up to view a single property. The phenomenon has been dubbed the "Hunger Games" of real estate by some industry experts including National Association of Tenants Organisations spokesperson Leo Patterson Ross.
Last weekend, more than 100 hopefuls lined up outside a Randwick property in Sydney's east to get a glimpse of what some have called a "shoebox unit". Ciara O'Loughlin, who filmed the "crazy stuff" told Nine' Today Show on Thursday it's "difficult" going up against so many people. Another woman named Lizzie said on TikTok she "can’t even walk around the houses properly" because so many people are viewing them.
It's not just Sydney, it's the whole of Australia so many pointed out.
"It's legit the same in Perth as well," one person wrote in response to Lizzie's video which showed crowds of people swarming the open home.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.