Thu. Sep 28th, 2023
Melbourne rental listings plummet amid calls to retrofit office buildings into affordable homes
Melbourne rental listings plummet amid calls to retrofit office buildings into affordable homes

Melbourne’s tenants have 22.7 per cent fewer homes to choose from this winter than they did a year ago.

The shock figures come amid calls for state and federal governments to downsize their office spaces and rapidly retrofit their buildings into affordable rental homes.

Released today, the latest PropTrack Rental Report has revealed the plunge in listings of homes for rent on is the biggest drop in any Australian capital.

RELATED: Mass exodus of landlords to cause major rental fallout

Dan’s rent freeze has 200,000-plus home risk

Rent crisis exposed as GPs, divorcees vie for $140pw rooms

PropTrack chief economist Cameron Kusher said Melbourne’s rental market outlook was getting worse, with just 1.4 per cent of rental homes currently vacant and listings now less than half what they were in January 2021.

The reduction has helped drive an 11.6 per cent increase in the city’s typical asking rent, now at $480 across all home types.

Mr Kusher said the plunging figures were likely a combination of tenants choosing to stay put rather than risk competing for a new rental home, landlords selling out of the market and property managers approaching recent unsuccessful applicants rather than actively listing homes for rent online. He said there could also be significant fall out from the decline.

I Love Victoria Image.

The sun is setting on tenants’ hopes of changing rentals, with the number of homes listed for lease plunging in the past year. Picture: Jason Edwards.

“Maybe some people will look to buy a home, but lower income homes most will not have the choice to become homeowners and they don’t have the capacity for higher rent; it’s probably very bad news for them,” Mr Kusher said.

“And I think we will see these numbers keep falling for a while.”

He said tenants able to leave the big smoke behind could be better off heading to the country, if their employer was still open to them working from home.

“In regional Victoria we haven’t seen the number of properties on the market for rent as high as it is at the moment since about June 2020,” Mr Kusher said.

“We are reverting to pre-Covid trends with everyone wanting to be back in the city and there’s a lot of migration coming into the country so that’s causing a lot of competition.”

2/12 Albert Street, Trentham with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 carpark is for rent for $550 pw

Homes like 2/12 Albert Street, Trentham, for rent at $550 a week could be an option for tenants able to relocate from Melbourne to regional areas.

Tenants Victoria community engagement director Farah Farouque said they were even hearing from middle-income earning families struggling to find a home with “ambitious thinking from all levels of government” now needed.

“We would certainly welcome more regulation of short-stay accommodation so more of these properties can return to the permanent rental market,” Ms Farouque said.

“There are also no rules about the size of rent rises in Victorian rental laws. We believe the government should legislate for a ‘fairness formula’ to regulate the amount that rent can be increased by.”

Forty-year real-estate veteran and senior industry figure John Bongiorno yesterday called for the housing crisis to be moved above politics and for federal and state government’s to consider downsizing their own office spaces to create space for affordable rental homes to be retrofitted into existing buildings.

Homes for rent around Melbourne right now. Picture:

58 Freeman St, Fitzroy North, is listed with a $1650 a week asking rent – showing how high demand has pushed rental prices for some inner-city homes.

“We have a lot more public servants working from home,” Mr Bongiorno said.

“The government could consolidate some of their spaces, whether it be federal or state, and that could be an immediate solution.”

The Marshall White sales director also advocated considering extending housing to light industrial areas where additional homes could be built above warehouses in mid- and high-rise complexes.

Further suggestions from Mr Bongiorno included stamp duty, council rate and tax incentives to encourage people to provide rental homes — where they remained in the tenant pool for a minimum 10 years.

Simpler planning frameworks and efforts to entice more foreign investment for rental homes were also mooted.

Homes for rent around Melbourne right now. Picture:

Even this one-bedroom apartment at 2307/45 Clarke St, Southbank, would challenge many tenants with a $680 a week asking rent.

“This is 100 per cent the worst housing crisis I have seen in over 40 years, and this is only the start of it,” Mr Bongiorno said.

“If we think we have a crisis now, give it 12-18 months and this will only explode.”

Mr Kusher agreed government sites could be a rapid short-term solution to Victoria’s rental market woes.

“There would be no acquisition costs on the land and they could certainly look to build more housing on government land,” he said.

“It’s definitely something they should be investigating.”

Real Estate Institute of Australia president Hayden Groves has today encouraged the nation’s mum and dad landlords to weigh in on the topic in a national rental inquiry that will be taken to the federal government.

“Now is the chance for family investors; and tenants to get involved and give their ideas on how we can improve the rental system and increase supply, not further reduce it,” Mr Groves said.

Sign up to the Herald Sun Weekly Real Estate Update. Click here to get the latest Victorian property market news delivered direct to your inbox.

MORE: Actor Guy Pearce’s stunning ‘double home’ for sale for around $9m

Mt Martha: Family lists vacant block bigger than a small suburb after 55 years of ownership

Housing crisis: Rent freeze raises risk of 200,000-plus home sales as landlords evict themselves from Victorian market


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »