Why is it so hard to find a rental?

7 October 2023

Perth’s rental market is expected to tighten further around Christmas, as population growth, fewer new home constructions and ultra-low vacancy rates combine to create a pressure-cooker environment.

Mont Property Managing Director Matthew Podesta said there had never been a more difficult time to find a rental, and the situation was unlikely to change any time soon.

“Supply is the most challenging issue facing the rental market at the moment, compacted by strong demand, which is putting upward pressure on rental prices,” Mr Podesta said.

“The current rental market is providing lucrative wins for investors, but the situation is not as bright for renters with incredibly low availability and soaring rental prices.”

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia statistics show there were 1673 properties available for rent on www.reiwa.com at the end of August, a 10.2% decline from July and 12.2% lower than the same time last year.

REIWA says the number of rental properties in Perth is now at its lowest level for over a decade, apart from last Christmas and New Year when the number dropped below 1500.

The median rent for Perth dwellings has increased to $575 a week after sitting at $550 a week since March.

CoreLogic data shows Perth house rents have surged by 13.2% since last year – the highest growth rate of any capital city. In the unit and apartment market, rents have increased by 15.9% – the second highest price rise behind Sydney, which sustained 17.8% growth.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows WA’s population grew 2.8% to 2.855 million in the year to March 2023 – the fastest growth rate of any state and territory.

Mr Podesta said population growth and migration was one of the most significant factors impacting the availability of rentals.

REIWA Chief Executive Officer Cath Hart said while eastern states buyers and builders had reported increased completions, supply was not keeping up with demand.

“We have a significant imbalance between supply and demand and this will maintain the pressure on WA’s sales and rental markets,” Ms Hart said.
“We can expect to see house prices and rents continue to rise, homes to sell and lease quickly and the vacancy rate to remain at near-record lows for some time yet.

“Until we can get a strong and consistent pipeline of new dwellings, we can expect to see ongoing pressure in the established market to house our growing population.”

CoreLogic said rental growth had eased nationally and predicted rent prices will flatten in 2024, albeit at high levels.

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