Renting a home in Perth is now nearly as expensive as Sydney, with the mining boom driving rents to a record level.
The soaring population of temporary workers in Perth and Darwin has seen housing costs ‘‘skyrocket’’, driving rents up by $90 to $130 a week in the last year, according to Australian Property Monitors.
New research shows a house now costs $490 a week to rent in Perth and $700 a week in Darwin. Meanwhile, rental growth has been nonexistent in Sydney and Melbourne for more than a year.
APM chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson said the ‘‘extraordinary rises’’ were caused by a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforce that can afford to bid up the price of housing well beyond what locals could afford.
Perth house rents rose 22.5 per cent and units by 17.1 per cent in the last year. The vacancy rate for rental properties was just 0.9 per cent in February, according to SQM Research.
‘‘It’s making conditions very tough going for tenants, but it’s a nirvana for investors,’’ Dr Wilson said.
‘‘With an estimated 1200-1500 people arriving in Perth each week, there are just not enough houses to go around. It’s especially become a problem when the state is already behind the 8-ball in terms of housing construction.’’
Fairfax-owned APM has found costs are even steeper in Darwin, where a much smaller population and supply of housing stock is struggling to contend with an influx of workers for the liquid national gas projects.
In the last year, Darwin house rents soared 22.8 per cent and unit rents by 22.2 per cent. Only 1.3 per cent of rental properties are currently available there.
In contrast, rents for houses in Melbourne held at $360 and have now not experienced any growth in more than two years. Unit rents rose just 1.4 per cent, well below the rate of inflation.
‘‘The Melbourne story is the economy is reasonably weak and there’s been a lot of supply, with Melbourne leading the nation in dwelling construction for the last three years,’’ said MacroBusiness economist Leith van Onselen.
In Sydney, house rents held steady at $500 for the year, but unit rents have risen by 4.4 per cent.
About 2.7 per cent of rental properties are vacant in Melbourne and 1.5 per cent in Sydney, SQM Research says.
‘‘The data shows Australia is experiencing a two-speed rental market, with explosive growth linked to the mining boom in Perth and Darwin but rents in the other capitals are growing at rates below inflation,’’ Mr van Onselen said.