Worsening rental affordability hurting regions

Australians living outside the major cities have not been spared from eye-watering rental hikes, putting pressure on populations in disaster-prone areas and other vulnerable groups.

Renting in the regions has become increasingly expensive since the COVID-19 pandemic, based on an analysis of SQM Research’s weekly asking rents.

The average regional renter is spending more than $150 extra a week compared to mid-2020, with some regions hit much harder than others.

Western Australia’s northern areas had recorded a substantial $481 rental increase over four years, far more than the $11 average rent hike in the Northern Territory’s south.

Renters in the Gold Coast, WA’s southwest, southern Queensland and the Sunshine Coast were also enduring sizeable increases in asking rents, according to the analysis, by national housing campaign Everybody’s Home.

Worsening housing affordability in many remote and regional postcodes will be on show at a hearing held by Everybody’s Home on Tuesday.

Commissioners will hear from First Nations, regional, remote, and disaster-impacted communities impacted by the troubled housing market.

One of the commissioners, University of Sydney housing expert Nicole Gurran, said housing costs had climbed out of reach for many living in places hit hard by flooding, such as Lismore in northern NSW.

“A lack of affordable and decent housing is driving overcrowding in First Nations communities, increasing the cost of housing in once affordable regional areas, and means more people become displaced when a disaster strikes in their hometown,” Professor Gurran said.

Separate figures from real estate data firm CoreLogic found regional rent growth has been accelerating again after slowing in the back half of 2023.

Regional house rents grew 6.2 per cent in the year to April, up from the 3.4 per cent increase recorded annually through to September 2023.

The most pronounced growth was recorded in regional Queensland and Tasmania, with CoreLogic suggesting the re-acceleration could have been driven by renters being priced out of cities and moving to more affordable locations.


Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)


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