Record rent falls in all capital cities … except Canberra

Dominic Giannini 15 November 2020

Rates will be an election battleground. Rents have fallen in all capital cities except for Canberra. Photo: File.

Rents fell in all capital cities in the June quarter except for Canberra, which recorded a 0.2 per cent increase compared to September last year.

Darwin experienced the biggest drop (0.7 per cent) while Brisbane experienced the smallest decline (0.1 per cent) according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

Capital cities recorded an average decline in rent prices of 0.2 per cent for the quarter and a 1.4 per cent decline for the year to September 2020.

“This is the first annual fall [since the Australian Bureau of Statistics] started the series in September 1973,” REIA president Adrian Kelly said.

“Rents fell in the September quarter in most capital cities due to continued weak rental market conditions with renters moving to cheaper areas and negotiating lower rents.

“It suggests that the government should be considering the extension of JobSeeker and rental assistance beyond December.”

The median rental value for houses in the ACT is $580 and $490 for units according to housing data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

House prices in the capital have also remained steady throughout the pandemic, rising by 2 per cent in September and 6.3 per cent annually, according to new CommSec data.

The Master Builders ACT has previously criticised the government for the cost of land in the Territory, creating an affordability problem.

“It is not accurate to describe Canberra’s affordability problem as a housing affordability problem. The ACT has a land affordability problem,” Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said.

“The ACT Government owns the raw land, it controls when land is released, it sets the sale price for new land and controls the design and approval of new suburbs.

“Land prices in the ACT that are above $1,000 per square metre are simply not sustainable.”

The ACT’s median value of ACT’s dwellings is just over $636,000, compared to $667,000 in Melbourne and $860,000 in Sydney, according to CoreLogic’s August dwelling data.

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