Sydney man among hundreds priced out of rental market: 'Kick in the teeth'

As Australia continues to grapple with the ongoing rental crisis, potential tenants are finding it harder to secure a suitable home.

Sydney man Edward Dostine, 33, said he's never seen it as bad as it is currently with sometimes hundreds of people lining up to view a single eastern suburbs property.

Mr Dostine, a full-time consultant, moved back to Sydney from Byron Bay — where he lived for a year — six weeks ago, but admits finding a place to live has been "much harder than I thought it would be".

"I was looking for a one-bedder for a while but I was priced out. Then I changed tack to live [in a two-bedroom] with a buddy but it’s been super frustrating," he told Yahoo News Australia.

Sydney man Edward Dostine at a property viewing with a line of people showing how hard up the rental market is.
Sydney man Edward Dostine, far right, explains the reality of the Sydney rental market as dozens line up for a single viewing. Source: Supplied

Hundreds of people viewing properties

In the past month, Mr Dostine has attended at least 15 inspections, he said, but each time has missed out because of high demand and soaring prices.

The hopeful tenant recently vented his frustrations on Facebook with a photo showing lines of people viewing a Bondi property, highlighting the stiff competition he's faced with.

"Is anyone else struggling to get a rental? Been looking with a buddy for over a month now and every inspection has >10 people & winning applications being >$100 over asking... Never seen it this bad," he wrote.

Mr Dostine told Yahoo News this photo wasn't the worst he'd seen, and that at each property he'd inspected, "there were at least 15-20 people in that five-minute window" he was there.

"It’s pretty nuts out there. It’s pretty mental times," he said.

People desperately offering more in rent

Feeling frustrated, he began to follow up with real estate agents asking for feedback.

"They basically said someone came in above asking. I didn’t realise you can overbid over the asking price but it’s actually quite common," he said.

For lease sign Sydney units
Sydney units going up for lease are attracting dozens of applicants.

In two instances, one property was $900 and it went for a grand. The other was $700 and went for $850, he was told.

"From what I’ve had previously, I didn’t expect to be paying about $400 a week rent [for a room] but that’s the norm now it seems."

Significant jump in Sydney rental prices

The past two years have seen relatively low rental prices which stuck around throughout Covid.

But now with overseas migration and short-term holiday rentals beginning to peak once more, we're nudging closer to pre-covid times.

According to Domain's September 2022 rent report, the weekly asking price in Sydney's eastern suburbs is up 13.3 per cent compared to this time last year.

For suburbs in the inner and southwest of Sydney, it's up 14.6 per cent. While in Parramatta in Sydney's west, the asking price for weekly rent has jumped 19.5 per cent, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Dostine's post was met with dozens of comments from others who've found themselves in the same situation.

"I was at one in Maroubra three weeks ago. 150 people at the inspection!!!" one said, admitting it's "crazy times."

Graph showing NSW rental prices since 2019. Source: Heatmaps
Graph showing NSW average rental prices since 2019. Source: Heatmaps

Another said it took them four months to finally get approved.

"Same here, it's ridiculous what’s happening [right now] and how much are people willing to pay for a sh*t hole," said a third.

Below-average properties, sky-high prices

Mr Dostine agreed tenants are getting less bang for their buck.

"Years ago $400 would get you a really nice place [in Bondi], now that’s an average place. I’ve got a higher income now but that’s still a bit much really," he said.

"A lot of my friends who stayed in Sydney [when I moved to Bryon a year ago] got quite sweet deals through Covid, so it’s a real kick in the teeth when you know your friends are paying $300 for a really nice place, and you’re paying a lot more than them for a lesser spot."

Someone else said they've been to two inspections in the eastern suburbs this week and each had "40-50 people queuing up."

"The rental market is the worst I have ever seen it," another said adding that real estate listings are often "wildly inaccurate".

Not only are some properties in a more dire state than depicted in the listing, some claim, but potential tenants are wasting hours on weekends viewing properties that aren't suitable.

"Half the weekend disappears lining up in the rain with other depressed people, [just to see] properties filled with mould," one said.

Renters forced to compromise

Mr Dostine said he started looking while still living in Byron, but that meant "crashing on couches here in Sydney while I was looking at places on weekends".

"Inspections take a lot of time away from my Saturdays and awkwardly placed times mid-week meant a lot of time away from my desk," he said.

The 33-year-old finally secured a spot in Bondi this week using

The website allows you to view the property virtually without queuing up for hours, and it's one-on-one which means it's not competitive, he said.

"I went on their site and found a two-bedder in Bondi. One of the nicer ones I’ve seen. Not exactly my dream spot but you know I had to settle 'cause I got desperate," he said.

"Initially I wanted to move towards Tamarama, Bronte or Clovelly, that would be where I would like to live, but as time went on there was no supply of apartments."

In his experience, there is usually more supply in Bondi, but he said they are often "old run-down houses that haven’t been touched in years but are worth so much money."

"I guess in summary I had to make compromises to find a spot," he added. "Beggars can’t be choosers."

Bondi Beach Sydney.
Mr Dostine found a suitable property in Bondi after almost two months of looking. Source: Getty

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