ACT still expensive place to live despite fall in rent prices

ACT still expensive place to live despite fall in rent prices

Canberra has maintained its status as one of the country's most expensive places to lease a home, despite recording a sharp decline in asking rents during last year.

Data issued on Thursday by Australian Property Monitors shows Canberra was the only capital city to record a fall in the median asking rent for units for the year.

Units dropped by 4.7 per cent to an asking rent of $410 and houses fell 4.2 per cent to $460.

The nation's capital was the only city to record a slide in rental prices for both forms of dwelling.

Gross rental yields for houses dropped by about 7 per cent for houses in the territory, which was the largest fall in the country.


The rental report for the December quarter showed Canberra unit rents picked up by 2.5 per cent during the last three months of the year while house rates fell 1.1 per cent. Nationally, median weekly asking rents for houses for the quarter increased 0.9 per cent and unit rents fell 0.4 per cent.

Australian Property Monitors senior economist Andrew Wilson said while the fall in rental rates was good news for those renting in Canberra, the city still remained the third-most expensive behind Sydney and Perth.

He said issues to do with the economy and confidence had created volatility in the housing market, which had also been felt in the rental market.

Independent Property Management managing director Norm Honey said the huge number of rental properties on the market during the year had led to a drop in prices.

He estimated there were about 3000 properties available to rent in the ACT at the beginning of 2014 compared with 1600 about 18 months ago.


But he said an influx of new developments settling during 2013 would have had a big effect on rental rates and vacancy rates.

Mr Honey said a greater issue was that renters left older properties for newly built ones, creating a backlog of older residences.

Meredith Clisby is the Editor of the Sunday Canberra Times