http://www.news.com.au/money/property/affordability-sees-renters-hit/story-e6frfmd0-1226035082007
Australian Associated Press | April 07, 2011

Renters continue to be squeezed as the deteriorating outlook for home affordability pushes up demand for rental properties.

House rents increased in every capital city except for Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, a report by property data collection agency RP Data found.

Rents increased by 1.4 per cent nationally and 2.7 per cent in the capital cities over the past 12 months.

“With limited purchasing activity based on concerns about affordability, we are likely to see increasing demand for rental properties,” RP Data report analyst Cameron Kusher said.

Mr Kusher said the rise in rents came against a background of sluggish property growth and higher interest rates.

“Limited new development during 2011 is likely to add to the upwards pressure on capital city rental rates, Mr Kusher said.

“As a result, we expect capital city rental growth to revert to around five-year average levels, with inner city units and outer more affordable housing stock having the strongest prospects for rental growth,” he said.

Among the capital cities, Canberra recorded the highest increase in rental rates at two per cent, followed by Adelaide and Hobart, which both rose by 1.5 per cent over the March quarter.

Western Australia’s Pilbara region continued to have Australia’s most expensive rental accommodation, with median weekly advertised rents for houses recorded at $1,650 per week, the report found.

“The Pilbara region’s rental market is tight and subsequently high prices are indicative of the isolated region’s strong demand for housing, mainly from resource sector workers and the insufficient supply of rental accommodation,” RP Data said in a statement.

The greatest falls in rents over the March quarter were in outer Adelaide and northern Queensland – which fell by 3.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The strongest growth was in the Pilbara, at 8.2 per cent.

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