Rental Market Update: Why Brisbane rents are 40% lower than Sydney

While the state of the housing market for buyers is one of the most heavily-discussed topics in the evening news, Brisbane renters aren’t generally afforded the same amount of insight. Although the Australian rental market generally fluctuates a lot less than the standard housing market, the long term trends are still telling — especially when comparing the rent values in different Australian cities. Currently, the trope of the renters market in Brisbane is that there is an oversupply of developments causing high vacancy rates.

The latest data, from SQM Research, shows rental vacancy rates in Brisbane dropped continuously through 2018, and, come the close of the year, was sitting at 2.8% — down from 3.4% this time 12 months ago. This is caused in part by higher-than-ever interstate migration rates, with Aussies fleeing the ridiculous real estate markets in Sydney and Melbourne. The River City has a unique drawcard of high-end apartments for a reasonable rent (many built during the last few years), so it’s no wonder interstate migrators are flocking. In addition, the growing pains caused by over-development of apartments are finally settling down, recovering by 0.6% in 2018.

In comparison to other capital cities, the Brisbane apartment market offers the 5th cheapest rent on average according to data from At an average of $405 per week, rent in Brisbane is cheaper than Melbourne ($420 per week), Canberra ($450 per week) and Sydney (an astonishing $520 per week). While a rent increase of 1.3% within the first month of the year for Brisbane doesn’t exactly have renters jumping with glee, it’s a great outcome for the market in general, with this month marking the first movement in months. Plus, when compared to the 5% surge Melbourne has experienced in 2019 so far, 1.3% is a healthy increase and is great news for Brisbane property investors.

Per room, Brisbane rental rates are currently sitting at $170 per week, up just $7 from Q1 2017. In Sydney, rent per room comes in at $267 per week, nearly 65% more than Brisbanites are paying. Looking at specific suburbs, tenants on a budget don’t need to head too far out of Brisbane city to find themselves a bargain, with several apartments in Brisbane’s inner-ring offering rent prices far under then median. An apartment in Kedron, Gordon Park, Red Hill or Clayfield will set you back an average of $350 a week, while units in Annerley have a median price of $340. On the inner south side, your best budget option is family-friendly Tarragindi at $335 a week. Looking North, blue-chip Woooloowin ($330) and the Grange ($325) come out on top of the list for the best deals for Brisbane renters.

With several large infrastructure projects planned for Brisbane over the next few years, it’s expected our humble River City will continue to look very attractive to investors. A strong investment market generally equates to a plentiful rental market. However, with the growing pains of the apartment market expected to lessen even more so over 2019, renters can expect increases in rent prices through the inner and middle-ring suburbs for the first time in a while. Although a jump of a few percent may be noticeable, Brisbane renters will still find themselves in a good position throughout the year (and should be counting their lucky stars they don’t reside in Sydney or Melbourne).

Written: 14 February 2019, Updated: 6 April 2020

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