Melbourne and Sydney unit rents are down over five per cent

Melbourne unit rents are down -7.6% over the 2020 calendar year and Sydney unit rents are down -5.7%

Melbourne and Sydney unit rents are down over five per cent
Melbourne and Sydney unit rents are down over five per cent

Rental conditions across the Melbourne and Sydney unit markets have been characterised as having weak demand and high supply. It is driving a sharp drop in rents. Demand for inner city unit rentals has been significantly impacted by stalled overseas migration, especially from lower overseas student numbers, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.

Weak demand for inner city unit rentals has been exacerbated by a recent history of high rise apartment construction in Melbourne and Sydney, with the pipeline of new units that are still under construction remaining well above the decade average. Melbourne unit rents are down -7.6% over the calendar year and Sydney unit rents are down -5.7%.

The CoreLogic report posited that Weak rental conditions across the unit sector are likely to persist until overseas migration starts to ramp up and the higher levels of supply are absorbed.

Rental yields have been under some mild downwards pressure through the COVID period, with the gross yield across the combined capitals region reducing from 3.51% at the end of 2019 to 3.42% in December 2020, while yields across the combined regional areas have reduced from 5.03% last year to 4.83% this year. Despite the lower yield profile, with interest rates likely to remain at record lows for some time yet, the opportunity for positive cash flow properties is becoming more prevalent.

Opportunities for positive cash flow properties along with the potential for capital gains is likely to see investment activity consistently lift through 2021, CoreLogic noted.

Melbourne and Sydney unit rents are down over five per cent

However rental conditions have diverged substantially in 2020 from both a geographical perspective and across the housing types. From a geographical perspective, the annual change in rents has been strong in Perth and Darwin where house rents are up around 10% in both cities and unit rents are 6.8% higher in Perth and 7.6% higher in Darwin.

CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless attributes the strength in Perth and Darwin rentals to both strong demand and a recent history of minimal supply additions.

“Both Perth and Darwin have recorded below average levels of investor activity since housing market conditions started to cool in mid-2014 which has led to a shortage of rental stock. More recently, with stronger interstate migration driving housing demand, rental rates have been under substantial upwards pressure as demand for rentals outweighs supply,” he said.

Although rents are surging higher in Perth and Darwin, the longer term trend highlights the weak rental conditions that persisted prior to the recent upswing. Perth rents remain -10.4% lower than the previous peak in May 2013 and Darwin rents remain almost -20% below their 2014 peak.

Tags: 
Melbourne Unit Rents Sydney Unit Rents Rental market

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