Navigating the evolving Australian rental landscape

Nov 7, 2023 | by DiJones

The Australian rental market is poised for change. CoreLogic’s recent analysis,spearheaded by their Head of Research, Eliza Owen, indicates a potential shift on the horizon, and after watching rental values climb for 35 uninterrupted months, predictions now point to a deceleration in rental growth in 2024.

Here, we look into the underlying factors driving this shift, and the implications for the broader property arena to help you understand and navigate the changing rental panorama.


What's behind the anticipated change?

Drawing on the research by CoreLogic, let’s dissect the primary influences and circumstances that could reshape the landscape of rental growth in the near future.

Interest rate movements 
Recent projections from leading banks hint at a potential decrease in the cash rate for the upcoming year. Historically, lowered interest rates can amplify the appetite of property investors. As more properties get snapped up by this cohort, the market could see an influx in rental availability. This boost in supply might temper the pace of rent increases, offering renters a wider selection of properties and potentially steadier rental prices.

Income Fluctuations
The pandemic, with its government-backed stimulus packages, strong labour market dynamics and shift in spending patterns, saw a surge in household incomes, prompting many to choose spacious or individual rentals, thereby reducing available rental stock. But as indicators point to a potential dip in income growth among other economic factors, there’s a likelihood that renters might re-evaluate their living arrangements. This could lead them back to shared accommodations or more cost-effective rental choices, which could increase the availability of some rental properties while intensifying demand for more affordable rental segments.

Affordability Challenges
According to the CoreLogic data, rent values have surged by 29.3% since August 2020, increasing the median weekly rent by $134. By March 2023, renters were spending 30.8% of their income on housing, a peak not reached since 2014. As rents stretch budgets, many may opt for shared living or cheaper areas. Recent trends have also shown increased migration to affordable regions, relieving some demand from pricier markets. This redistribution has the potential to put a brake on skyrocketing rental growth in the more upscale rental markets.

What this means for our property markets

These factors are likely to influence rental demand and shape investment strategies in the coming year. Here’s how:

  • The investment landscape: although the potential for reduced rent growth might raise eyebrows among investors, anticipated shifts in interest rates could balance the scales, maintaining the allure of property investment.

  • Changing tenant choices: tenants are likely to become more selective, looking for homes that offer better value or suit new lifestyle needs, such as shared living spaces.

  • Potential changes in property prices: easing borrowing conditions could stimulate buying activity, which might have an impact on rental availability and pricing as well as affecting prices in the wider market.

Strategies for the changing market

Whether you are a current investor, looking to enter the investment market or a renter, being informed allows for strategic moves. Here are some tips to help you stay ahead of the game:

For property owners: 

In the ever-evolving real estate landscape, property owners must remain nimble and responsive to changes in tenant preferences. One of the trends emerging from the current rental climate is the potential shift back to shared living. If this materialises, owners might consider modifications that cater to this living arrangement, such as creating additional privacy zones, enhancing communal spaces, or introducing smart home features that ease shared responsibilities.

Moreover, with renters becoming more discerning, prioritising the upgrade of amenities can make a property stand out. Think energy-efficient appliances, high-speed internet provisions, or even green spaces for urban properties. Enhanced security features and pet-friendly provisions are other areas where small changes can yield significant tenant appeal.

In short, staying attuned to market dynamics and being proactive in property improvements not only ensures sustained rental income but also positions one’s property as a top choice for potential tenants.

For potential investors: 

The property market, with its myriad of intricacies, often necessitates a broader perspective, especially when considering long-term investment strategies. 

While the immediate trajectory of rental growth can influence short-term decisions, it’s imperative to not be too narrowly focused. A broader outlook encompasses factors beyond just rental yields; it looks at property appreciation, potential tax advantages, and the inherent value of real estate as a tangible asset. 

One of the most influential factors in the property investment landscape is interest rates. Anticipated shifts in these rates in the coming months can significantly impact the cost of borrowing and the return on investment. Additionally, changes in rental demands, emerging neighbourhood trends, and population migrations can also present unique opportunities for savvy investors. 

By weighing these elements and staying informed, potential investors can strategically position themselves to leverage both immediate and long-term benefits in the real estate market.

For renters: 

As the rental market undergoes change, renters too must stay agile to maximise opportunities. Staying updated with current market trends is essential; it’s not only investors who stand to gain from this knowledge. 

This evolving scenario might offer renters chances to negotiate more favourable lease conditions, whether in terms of duration, rent, or other perks. Furthermore, as we see a potential trend towards shared living or housing decisions based on income, it’s a prime time for renters to reassess their housing choices. 

Open dialogue with landlords or property managers can be the key to finding middle ground in negotiations, ensuring both parties are content. Additionally, this shift in the market might shine a light on previously overlooked neighbourhoods, presenting renters with new avenues to explore. 

A final word

Navigating the intricate dance of Australia’s rental landscape requires foresight, adaptability, and informed decision-making. As the market continues to evolve, driven by diverse factors from interest rates to changing living preferences, stakeholders from renters to investors have unique challenges and opportunities ahead. 

By staying informed, anticipating changes, and strategizing accordingly, everyone can ensure that they are well-positioned to maximise the benefits of the shifting terrain. In the world of real estate, knowledge and adaptability remain key. As always, it’s imperative that you seek professional legal and financial advice before making any property decisions.





Other buying, selling and investing articles and resources 

Guide to property investment success in NSW

Selling a house or apartment in NSW eBook

Buying a house or apartment in NSW eBook

Property investment in NSW FAQ’s

What is a property cycle and what drives a change? 

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