Rents down in all Australian cities apart from Melbourne and Hobart

Residential rents in Australia fell in all cities except for Melbourne and Hobart in July taking the combined capital city median weekly rent to $483 a week, the lowest since December 2015.

Combined capital city rental rates are $485 a week for houses and $467 a week for units, according to the latest rent index from real estate firm CoreLogic.

Overall the index fell by 0.3% over the month and is 0.6% lower than it was in July 2015 and it is anticipated that the rental market weakness will persist and that on an annual basis rents will continue to fall over the coming months.

A breakdown of the figures shows that over the past 12 months rental rates have increased in Sydney by 0.4%, in Melbourne by 2%, in Hobart by 6.2% and in Canberra by 1.9%. Rents fell by 1% in Brisbane, by 0.5% in Adelaide, by 9.2% in Perth and by 15.7% in Darwin.

CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher pointed out that Hobart and Canberra are the only capital cities to have recorded stronger rental growth over the past year compared to the previous year.

He explained that the market is currently seeing the softest wages growth on record and the declines are being cause by relatively high levels of housing investment following record highs recently and well as historically high levels of new dwelling construction as most of them are units which are more than twice as likely to be rented.

He also pointed out that slowing population growth creates less overall demand for housing at a time when home commencements and the number of dwellings under construction were at historic high levels in March 2016.

‘The combination of all these factors means that landlords have little scope to increase rental rates in this current market. Potentially, the changing rental market conditions will have a flow on effect for older stock, particularly units given we’re seeing so much new unit supply being added to the rental market, much of which is located in inner city locations,’ he explained.

He also said that while rental rates are falling and values continue to rise, gross rental yields remain at record low levels. ‘As a result of record low rental yields and the weakest rental market on record, those investors currently active are clearly focusing on capital growth potential,’ he added.