It's no secret that renting a house in Canberra does not come cheap. With a median asking rent of $675 per week - making it the most expensive Australian city in which to rent a house - which Canberra suburbs can prospective tenants look towards for some respite?
According to the latest Domain Rent Report for the December quarter, the most affordable suburb in which to rent a house was Belconnen, at $490 per week. This was followed by Holt, also in the Belconnen region, at $520 per week, and Gordon, in Tuggeranong, at $530 per week.
Altogether, 41 suburbs of the 56 that were analysed across the capital had a median weekly asking rent of $675 or less. There were 34 suburbs with a median of $650 or less, 18 of $600 or less, and one of less than $500 per week.
"Anything from $600 upwards to $700 per week is what a lot of tenants are looking for," said property manager Kerri Everest of Hive Property.
"And this is usually for a three-bedroom standalone house or townhouse. Because it's a popular price range, the chances of finding something under that price guide is quite slim."
When looking at Belconnen properties available for rent, for instance, there are about 30 houses and townhouses going for less than the city's overall median. In Gungahlin there are also 30 properties, and in Tuggeranong there are fewer than 20.
"These are areas that usually have a lot more properties under that threshold," Ms Everest said.
Braedan Kidd of Ashby Partners Real Estate, a property management business, said suburbs within the Weston Creek region were also proving popular among renters looking under that $675 mark.
"But the properties under this threshold are not new builds - they're a few years old," he said. "Regardless, that price guide is really attracting tenants, which are mostly families. We've got stock turning over very quickly."
Domain data shows Canberra's vacancy rates decreased to 0.7 per cent in January, only 0.2 percentage points off the lowest recorded level seen in March 2018 and equalling the rates seen in July 2021.
"Anecdotally, we have more than 30 people walk through a three-bedroom house around that $600 mark but only one person gets it and, usually, our days on market are very short," Mr Kidd said. "A house is usually tenanted after just one open home inspection, without us breaking a sweat."
Ms Everest noted that, while many tenants have a price range between $600 and $700, this was also the price range renters were looking at before the pandemic.
"I think before COVID, that was still the preferred price range for a lot of people, and pre-pandemic, it was achievable," she said.
"Now, tenants initially come into the rental market - and these are mostly families with two incomes and a few kids - with that price in mind but are then forced to push it higher to $700 to $800 per week.
"We're inundated with inquiries and I don't think that will slow. With an economy backed by a transient population and government workers, the rental market will continue to be busy with landlords and tenants."
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