Rents around Australia are either static or have slid backwards in every capital city except Sydney and Melbourne, a new report has found.
The APM Rental Report for the March quarter says that Melbourne house rents went up 1.3 per cent with apartments up 4.3 per cent.
And Sydney’s apartment rents went up 1 per cent over the quarter.
The rest of the country had no rental growth or falling rents.
When considered nationally, the median weekly rent for houses increased only fractionally – by 0.2 per cent – over the quarter, while unit rents grew at a slightly more healthy 1.7 per cent.
The senior economist from the Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors, Dr Andrew Wilson, says low interest rates are a factor.
‘‘Choppy capital city rental market performances over the March quarter reflects to some degree the uplift in home-buying activity which was driven by sharp improvements in housing affordability over the past year,’’ he says.
The big story in Sydney’s rental market is that the median weekly rent for an apartment is catching up fast to that of houses, the report says. There is now only $10 a week difference between them – $500 a week for houses versus $490 a week for apartments.
Dr Wilson predicts that ‘‘sooner rather than later’’ this year apartments would be as expensive to rent as houses.
This was ‘‘driven by the affordability advantages of units over houses and the growing preferences for apartment living and inner-city locations’’, he says.
Over the first three months of this year the median weekly apartment rent grew by 1 per cent, while that of houses remained flat.