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The suburbs where rents have risen and fallen during COVID-19
Source: | Author:pro01a30d | Published time: 2021-08-24 | 1464 Views | Share:

Landlords struggling to fill their inner-city properties are being forced to lower their rent, as tenants seek coastal and lifestyle suburbs during COVID-19 lockdowns.

New data released by has revealed the suburbs where median rents have increased and decreased the most over the past year.

Between July 2020 and July 2021 lifestyle suburbs offering coastal or scenic landscapes recorded rental increases of more than 70% in some areas due to soaring demand, which has pushed vacancy rates to record lows.

Economist at, Anne Flaherty said remote working arrangements and COVID-19 lockdowns have prompted many renters to revaluate their living arrangements.

“The pandemic has driven an unprecedented upheaval in where Australians are choosing to live, with many fleeing cities to move to sea and tree change suburbs,” Ms Flaherty said.

City suburbs dropping in price

In a bid to lure tenants back into their city properties, some landlords have dropped rental prices, predominantly in Sydney and Melbourne.

While CBD markets have been hit hard by international border closures and the shift to working from home, some of the biggest discounts were recorded in affluent, blue-chip city suburbs, giving tenants the opportunity to get into neighbourhoods they may have previously been priced out of.

“The declines seen in some of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs, such as Tuross Head and Clovelly, come from diminishing availability of high-end rentals. Prospective tenants need to move quickly if they want to successfully rent in these suburbs,” said Ms Flaherty.

Median weekly rents for houses in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Clovelly fell 37% over the year, from a median of $2025 in July 2020 to $1275 in July 2021.

Units in Point Piper recorded a 33% decrease in weekly rents from $1500 in July 2020 to $1000 in July 2021.

There are early signs the extended lockdowns in Sydney could lead to another city exodus, with data from SQM Research revealing vacancy rates in the Sydney CBD rose to 6.1% in July, from 5.6% in June.

“SQM Research believes the new lockdowns may have triggered another wave of interest in regional living as many of the community seek freedom away from harsh COVID measures,” SQM Research managing director, Louis Christopher, said, noting regional rents had increased over and above the capital cities over the past year.

While residential vacancy rates across Melbourne’s CBD have fallen from the September 2020 peak of 10.8%, July’s vacancy rate of 8.2% remained well above pre-pandemic levels.

Data from found median asking rents for units in Melbourne’s CBD, which was hit hard by last year’s extended lockdown, fell 25% over the year to $375 per week in July 2021.

Melbourne-based property manager Martin Sizer, from Nelson Alexander, said the latest lockdown won’t help the situation.

“The impact of COVID has resulted in reduced asking rents in many of the Melbourne suburbs,” Mr Sizer said.

“With this latest lockdown 6.0 extension, it is likely any signs of a recovering rental market are going to start to diminish,” he added.

Suburbs near universities also recorded large decreases in rent as border closures stopped international students from entering the country.

The average weekly median rent for units in Carlton, near The University of Melbourne, fell from $450 to $335 over the year, a 25.6% decrease. Unit rents in Caulfield East near Monash University fell by 26.7%, from $430 to $315 per week.

Soaring demand driving regional and coastal rents

In contrast, rents across regional and coastal suburbs have surged as tenants take advantage of remote working opportunities to live in bigger spaces that offer a better lifestyle.

“In some of the more scenic areas Australians have been migrating to, rents are now more than 50% higher compared to a year ago,” said Ms Flaherty.

Marcoola on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast recorded the strongest growth, with weekly median rents rising 78% to $650 in July 2021, up from $365 a year earlier.

“Queensland has seen strong interstate migration from New South Wales and Victoria over the past 12 months which has driven up rental demand,” Ms Flaherty said.

“Properties in the Sunshine Coast have been beneficiaries of this migration, as well as the demand for lifestyle, and are among the suburbs which have seen the strongest rent growth over the past 12 months.”

Five out of the top ten suburbs with the strongest rental growth for houses were located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, with Elliott Heads, Sunshine Beach, Sunrise Beach and Coolum Beach all recording rental increases of more than 47%.

According to SQM, vacancy rates across the Sunshine Coast were 0.6% in July 2021, and reached an all-time low of 0.4% in November 2020.