It is now more expensive to rent an apartment in sunny Brisbane than in Melbourne, according to new Domain analysis showing just how thoroughly COVID-19 lockdowns rocked Victoria’s shit-hot rental market.

In other words: Friendship ended with Fortitude Valley. Now Footscray is my best friend.

The new data, released Thursday morning, states the median rent for a unit in Brisbane climbed 1.3% to $400 in the final quarter of 2020.

To the south-east, Melbourne’s median unit rental price experienced a quarterly dip of 3%, settling at $388 per week.

Brisbane folks, take this moment to imagine a Melbourne seachange. I mean, you could buy a couple of mid-strength beers with the extra $12 you’d save each week. Luxury.

The downturn in the Victorian apartment market is even starker when recorded from March, when shit (the virus) really hit the fan (every aspect of our lives).

“Of all the capital cities, Melbourne units have recorded the deepest fall in asking rent since pre-pandemic March, down 9.8 per cent,’ said Domain Senior Research Analyst, Dr Nicola Powell.

And in year-on-year terms, Brisbane’s unit rental prices spiked nearly 4% over the year, while Melbourne apartments dipped 7.6%.

Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic is largely to blame for Melbourne’s tumbling rental prices.

With international travel a near impossibility, Victoria could no longer welcome international students and migrants who would have otherwise called a rental unit home.

Finances took a hit, too: Punters may have chosen to downsize, move back home with family, or shuffle away from the city due to the rise of work-from-home arrangements.

The downturn also impacted Sydney’s rental market. Domain states the median rent for houses was $550 in Q4, compared to $470 for units. Powell said the “divergence of house and unit rents has resulted in the largest price gap on record.”

It’s not all peachy for renters hoping to score an apartment deal, though.

Tenants unions warned the luxury end of the rental market would experience the greatest drop in prices, with little variation in cheaper properties. So, just because the market dipped, not every tenant copped the full benefit.

On top of that disparity, eviction moratoriums are coming to an end. Powell warned could convince landlords to jack their prices back up.

For now, enjoy the cheaper rents – if you can get ’em.