It's a great time to be an Australian landlord: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

It's a great time to be an Australian landlord: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder
It's a great time to be an Australian landlord: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder


The data on rents published by Domain illustrates that this is a great time to be a landlord – in most locations across Australia. You might have a different view if you own an investment property in the inner-city areas of our biggest cities, but elsewhere we have a landlord’s market like never before.

Vacancy rates below 1% have become the norm in Australia. That’s a remarkable situation and it deserves repeating: vacancies under 1% are the norm.

Five of our capital cities – Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin – have vacancy rates under 1%. Brisbane is only marginally higher. And many of our regional centres have vacancies closer to zero than to 1%.

You would be hard-pressed to find a significant regional city or town with a vacancy rate above 2%. I’ve been researching and writing about Australian real estate for almost 40 years and I’ve never seen a rental market situation like this.

Research entities confirm that many locations have the tightest rental markets ever recorded. Every day I’m having conversations with real estate professionals across the nation. And when the topic is the rental market, the story is always the same: when a dwelling becomes available for rental there are queues of people - 30, 40 or 50 applicants – competing for the property.

It’s common for prospective tenants to make offers well above the asking rent and/or to offer to pay six or 12 months in advance to beat the competition. That is why the Domain figures show rents rising sharply in locations across Australia, especially outside the big cities – despite pandemic-related restrictions from state governments.

Multiple regional centres in NSW, Queensland and Victoria have had rents growing10% or more, sometimes 15-20%, in the past year. Among the capital cities, there have been double- digit rises in Perth and Darwin – and significant increases also in Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane. In Sydney, houses are up 5% although apartments have dropped.

There are many reasons why there is a dire shortage of rentals in most locations:

  •  We haven’t been building sufficient new dwellings for the past three years or so.
  •  Vacancies are primarily an outcome of investor activity and investors have been sitting on the sidelines lately – owner-occupiers have been driving markets.
  •  The Exodus to Affordable Lifestyle, with large numbers of Australians leaving the big cities and moving to the fringes and to the regions, has further diminished the supply of rental properties.

This is a national crisis but it receives very little attention from media and even less from politicians. The various federal and state governments have been so busy dealing with the pandemic, they haven’t noticed the chronic shortage of properties and the dramatic impact of that on rentals.

One shudders to think what the situation would be if Labor had won the last Federal Election and scrapped negative gearing. Right now, we need the opposite kind of action – we need governments to provide direct incentives to Australians to become property investors and add to the rental pool. In the meantime, rents will keep going up. Propertyology’s head of research Simon Pressley is forecasting record increases and I think he’s right.

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Housing Rents Landlords Property Investing

Community Discussion (1)

Help contribute to the Urban community by leaving your comments about this article
What would you like to say about this project?
It will be interesting to see how tenants will afford increasing rents as government income support decreases and we go through challenging economic times with ongoing virus infection.
Not helpful

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?