Renters Seek Out Lifestyle in South-East Queensland

For the first time on record renters are paying more to live in a unit in Brisbane than their urbane Melbourne counterparts.

Brisbane rental prices have soared to a new high with residents of southern states migrating north not only for the sunshine, but a less Covid-impacted lifestyle.

Data from Domain’s Rent Report for the fourth quarter of 2020 shows that the median unit rental price in Brisbane was $400, compared to Melbourne’s median rental price of $388, a four-year low, making Melbourne a tenant’s market.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the increased rental demand was largely driven by people relocating to Brisbane during Covid-19 and the resumption of local and interstate short-term travel.

“Tenants are seeking liveability, affordability, and are no longer tied to a specific location in the work-remote era,” Powell said.

“A rebounding jobs market and lifestyle locations will continue to see accelerated demand, factors that are likely to drive significant rent rises.”

The Sunshine and Gold Coast outperformed Brisbane in unit rental yields with a median price of $430 and $445 respectively.

“It is clear lifestyle locations are experiencing an increase in demand from local travellers and those working from home opt to relocate,” Powell said.

Median house rent prices

Lifestyle in South-East Queensland

Nationally house rental prices have continued to surge ahead with rents now at a record high, following the steepest annual gain in more than a decade.

But this is in stark contrast to the unit rental market, which experienced its steepest decline in price to 2014 levels.

This steep decline in unit rental markets has largely been driven by Melbourne and Sydney who are heavily exposed to the cessation of international migration, international students and local and international tourism.

There has also been an increase in first-home buyer numbers.

Across the rest of the country the story is not as bleak.

Sydney house rental prices reached a record high with a quarterly increase of 1.9 per cent to $550 per week.

This has been largely supported by a migration to the outer suburbs, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast.

Median unit rent prices

Lifestyle in South-East Queensland

Adelaide is now the most affordable city to rent a house or unit, despite a strong growth in house rental prices last quarter.

Canberra is officially the most expensive place to rent either a house or a unit, and with a less transient population with travel restrictions in place this is likely to continue.

“Tenants will find securing a lease remains competitive and some may have to resort to offering above advertised asking rents,” Powell said.

“The estimated number of vacant rentals is 24 per cent lower annually.

“This lack of vacant rentals will continue to drive up rent prices.”

Rental vacancy rates have plummeted 63 per cent compared to the previous year in Perth, where it is now a landlords’ market, and the city has posted the biggest rental recovery over the December quarter.

House rental prices have increased 6.3 per cent to a median rental asking price of $420, and units increased by 2.9 per cent to a rental price of $350.

Hobart’s rental prices remained steady, and it continues to be the tightest rental market in the country.

Darwin posted significant increases in rental prices, now at a peak last seen in 2017.


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