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Australian rents rise four times faster than wages due to mass immigration

Rents in Australia’s capital cities have risen by an average of almost 40% over the past four years while wages have only grown by a quarter of that over the same period.

The most recent figures from Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show wages went up by 10.6% from the December quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2023, while in the 2022/23 financial year alone 737,000 immigrations were allowed into the country, increasing demand for housing.

But despite rental falls during the Covid pandemic when Australia closed its borders, they have since surged to record highs, Domain reported.

Perth saw the most growth, with house rents increasing 67.6% and unit rents going up 62.5%, followed by Brisbane and Adelaide which both experienced 40% plus increased.

House rents in Sydney went up 40.4% and units 33.3%, while Melbourne’s figures were 27.9% and 23.8% respectively.

Even in Canberra and Adelaide, where rents rose the least, they exceeded wage rises.

ANZ senior economist Adelaide Timbrell told Domain that strong population growth, low vacancy rates – 1% in December – and lagging construction was to blame.

“Any renter who is looking for a property is competing with more renters for a smaller number of available properties,” she said.

“This allows landlords to be less competitive when they’re posting their rental price.”

The new data comes after an ANU analysis showed Australians on middle incomes are earning less now than they were in 2019.

Meanwhile real household disposable income is at 2011 levels, and real wages fell 7.3% from June 2020 to September 2023.


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