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Canberra rental market surge

Canberra rental market surge leaves students, young families struggling to find properties.

Canberra's rental market has shown the strongest growth of all capital cities according to new property data, but the surge has left some renters at a disadvantage. Rents in the ACT have sat relatively dormant for the past five years, but new research from CoreLogic RP Data suggests the market is becoming increasingly competitive.

Head of research Cameron Kusher said the ACT market was leading the nation in rental growth, followed closely by Tasmania.

"House rents are up 7.1 per cent over the last 12 months [and] unit rents are up 2.1 per cent," he said.

"This has really been quite a big contrast to what we've been seeing over the past five years or so ... we're definitely seeing rental demand growing again now."

Mr Kusher said desperate renters might feel as though landlords were cashing in, but the long-term rental growth for Canberra did not reflect that.

"Our median rent at the moment is $544 per week. At the same time five years ago it was $542," he said.

"You can see that it's barely moved."

Mr Kusher said with few new homes being built, it was reasonable to expect rents to accelerate further.

But he said the unit market was somewhat different.

"We have seen over the last few years a pickup in unit construction and that might slow down rental growth in the unit market a little bit," he said.

Mr Kusher said unit rents were actually lower than they were five years ago, despite the growth in the past five months.

"For units the median rent is $422 [per week] and five years ago it was $443," he said.

Huge queues at inspections: real estate agent

With demand especially strong for houses, some real estate agents have reported huge queues at inspections.

Peter Blackshaw property manager Scott Gardiner said young couples with children were renting for longer while they saved for a home deposit, so it meant interest in stand-alone houses under $500 per week was especially high.

"There's a lot of competition, there are sometimes 25 groups attending the open homes," he said.

Mr Gardiner said the situation was even worse for students.

"It can be very tough because [landlords] are always going to choose someone who's got stable employment over someone studying full-time," he said.

"It's pretty competitive [and] often we get applicants coming in with no previous rental history, they've been living with mum and dad or they're trying to get off campus."


What we want to achieve in the long-term in a perfect world. ACT Shelter believes that housing is a human right. Our vision is that everyone’s home be recognised as the safe, secure, affordable, sustainable foundation to well-being.


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