The coronavirus pandemic has forced folks around the country to rethink their living situation, and now the property market has responded as rent continues to fall.

Over the past month, the cost of rent nationwide fell 2.4% for houses and 1.1% for units, according to data published by SQM Research.

In Sydney, this drop was even higher, with rent falling 5% for houses and 3.3% for units. Melbourne saw a similar story with rent down 2.6% for houses and 3% for units.

“People who have lost jobs or income are trying to save money so are moving back in with parents, moving in with friends, dissolving share houses,” Domain economist Trent Wiltshire told the ABC.

“Net immigration has also fallen, there are fewer international students and workers… fewer young people looking to move out.”

And while fewer people are looking to rent during the pandemic, more and more properties keep being put on the market.

Domain saw a 10% nationwide increase in the number of properties on offer, compared to this time last year, while Realestate.com.au also saw an 8% rise, the ABC reported.

Many of these new listings, particularly in tourist hotspots like Bondi, Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay are former holiday house and Airbnb listings which no longer have a steady stream of bookings.

Border closures have also affected the market.

“I am conservatively expecting a surplus of well over 120,000 properties remaining unoccupied – and looking for an occupier – this year if net migration continues to be frozen for most of 2020,” SQM CEO Louis Christopher wrote in an email to clients.

“That is going to be one major hang over for the housing market, particularly for the rental market. “

But it seems only rental properties have been affected, because the asking prices for houses around Australia continue to remain relatively steady.

To combat renters being forced out of their homes, the government has put a moratorium on all evictions for the next six months, urging landlords to compromise with renters who may have lost their jobs.

It’s a sad sign that many simply can’t cope with the cost of renting during the pandemic. For those lucky enough to still be on the hunt for a place, there may be some bargains to come.

Image: AAP /James Ross