Melbourne landlords continue to have the upper hand in the rental market – with the reported vacancy rate dropping to just 2% in January, 2011.
It has been six years since Melbourne renters enjoyed a balanced rental market, with more than 3% of rental properties available. That was in January 2005, when the vacancy rate rose to a comparatively high 3.3%.
For many landlords, high demand gives them the ability to pick and choose their tenants carefully as well as impose rent rises more regularly.
The vacancy rate jumped slightly to 2.3% in December 2010 – which is always a quite time for rentals – but renters came back to the market after the Christmas-New Year break. It is predicted a low vacancy rate will continue to put upwards pressure on rental costs.
Figures from the Victorian Government’s Office of Housing show rents have increased exponentially since that balanced market in 2005. The median rent for a two-bedroom unit increased by 25.7% between 2000 and 2005. But in the next five-year term (2005-2010), the median jumped a whopping 54.5%.
According to experts, the rental market will only get easier for renters if housing construction is increased to keep up with surging Melbourne population growth.