Rising rent prices across Canberra regions have forced tenants to look across the border to Queanbeyan, tempted by the area's affordability.
According to the latest Domain Rent Report, Queanbeyan recorded the highest annual increase in median asking rent prices across all Canberra regions for houses and units.
The region measured a 21.6 per cent annual increase in the median asking price for a unit at $390 a week, up by 6.8 per cent from the previous quarter - this was the most affordable region in which to rent a unit compared to Canberra regions.
As for a house in Queanbeyan, the median asking price was $650 a week, an 18.2 per cent annual increase and up 4.8 per cent from the previous quarter.
But for Dillon Morley, who used to rent a small apartment with a housemate in Woden, moving across the border meant securing a lease in a much larger home for the same rent.
Morley paid $540 a week for an apartment that was "half the size" of her current residence, but now she rents a spacious two-bedroom townhouse for $530 a week.
"Queanbeyan homes had much more value for money," she said.
Throughout the pandemic, Morley found her small apartment did not provide her and her housemate personal space, and she and her friend began looking further afield for more comfortable options.
"I've rented a lot in Canberra, but in Queanbeyan it's evident that you can get more for what you pay," she said.
"I really enjoyed living in Canberra before I rented in Woden, but when my lease was up, I knew there was no way I could afford the rent by myself.
"To drive to Canberra only takes 10 minutes, so I enjoy living in a spacious, comfortable home [in Queanbeyan], with Canberra just down the road."
Domain chief of research and economics Dr Nicola Powell said while affordability might be pushing Canberrans over the border, there is more that is making Queanbeyan attractive to renters.
"It's also the change that Queanbeyan has seen in recent years - it's had a lot of investment put into it, and I think that makes people more open to relocating outside of the ACT," she said.
"Increasing costs for essentials makes people question whether they are getting the best value for money for leasing in Canberra when a neighbouring area does offer affordability in comparison.
"When you look at the increase in house and unit prices in Queanbeyan, that speaks in itself to the affordability of the area."
Queanbeyan itself is also attracting renters due to the convenience of its location, according to agent Alexandra Ahkey of Blackshaw Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra.
"The stigma that says Queanbeyan is the 'Bronx' is starting to shift a little, and Canberrans can now see you get a lot more bang for your buck across the border," she said.
"It's well located, a lot more affordable, and there is just more [rental] stock available as well.
"I think overall it has really just become more appealing, and people are considering it more now than 10 years ago, when they may not have had to [look outside of Canberra]."
The median weekly asking price for a unit in Queanbeyan was $110 less than the most affordable region within Canberra borders, which could partially be due to the capital's new high-rise apartment blocks, Ahkey added.
"I think apartment rental costs [in Queanbeyan] will remain below Canberra's, as we have a lot of apartment blocks that are a bit dated now in comparison to Canberra," she said.
"Investors may think they're more stable and trustworthy, but from the tenant's perspective, there's just a lot of potentially fewer swish apartments available.
"For houses, I think the prices will continue to climb as there is such a demand, and it only continues to grow."
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