RIP: Australia’s Rental Vacancy Has Just Hit A Record Low

Australian renters are still facing a gloomy outlook as the country’s worst ever rental crisis continues to deepen.

New data for October shows rental availability sunk to a new record low, sitting at just 1.2 per cent. In capital cities, that rate is even lower at 0.9 per cent.

That is below the previous record low of 1.10 per cent in September and well below a “healthy” rate of 3 per cent.

Low supply and high demand are of course the two factors resulting in skyrocketing rents. Rents have skyrocketed by 14.6 percent since last year, with the average weekly rent now being $550. With so few rentals coming to market there is simply nowhere for people to move to, resulting in a crisis.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said in a report that the poor market, worsening in a cost-of-living crisis, meant the average number of people per house was growing as renters looked to save costs.

“Rent markets remain tight pretty much everywhere,” he said.

“The pre-COVID average for capital city vacancy is 3.1 per cent. To see some cities with a vacancy rate persistently at sub 1 per cent levels is alarming to say the least. No doubt there are a broad range of negative social outcomes stemming from the undersupply of rental housing, the worst being increased rates of homelessness and rough living.”

The news has renewed calls for increased social housing in Australia, as activists argue that the private sector simply can’t keep up with demand.

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Mary Azise said yesterday that as many as one in ten homes need to be social housing within a decade.

“Renting has never been less affordable. The number of available rentals has hit an all time low. Housing stress has become the fastest growing cause of homelessness,” she said.

“The private market simply won’t deliver the affordable homes that the nation requires. We need one million public and community homes over the next 20 years to meet soaring demand.”

Azise said they were also calling for reforms to rent assistance to bring rent and house price inflation under control.