Cracks starting to appear in rental crisis but foreign students filling empty spaces

The rental crisis may be easing in some parts of the country but the return of international students has created more problems for Brisbane’s CBD.

Mar 14, 2023, updated Mar 14, 2023
The flow of Chinese students back to Australian universities is picking up pace. (File image).

The flow of Chinese students back to Australian universities is picking up pace. (File image).

Data from SQM Research showed that only an extra 448 dwellings were added to the national rental stock in February which now stands at 32,000 properties.

Capital city rents rose 2.6 per cent in the past 28 days and over the past year, they are up 21 per cent, according to SQM.

Nationally, the median rent is now $567 a week and in Brisbane it has hit $600 a week, a rise of 2.2 per cent in the past month and up 20 per cent for the year.

Sydney remains the least affordable with houses renting for a median $936 a week.

SQM said the issue in the Brisbane CBD may have been caused by the return of international students, following the pandemic.

City-wide, rental vacancies were steady at 1.3 per cent and fell to 1.2 per cent in the CBD. On the Gold Coast, SQM said there was a sharp rise in rental vacancies, but the city remains at a very low 1 per cent.

SQM said it regarded the slight increase in vacancies as a surprise result and a welcome relief to some tenants.

The surge in net overseas and longer term and permanent arrivals relative to new residential property supply was ensuring extremely tight rental conditions remain.

SQM managing director Louis Christopher said he was expecting another decline in rental vacancies and the figures showed there was hard evidence of the rental crisis easing in Canberra, Darwin and Hobart.

“Could we be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel for our national rental crisis?” he said.

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“Perhaps for some cities and regions, yes.

“However we remain very concerned for the situation in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane where most international arrivals land.”





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