Testing time for north-west renters


Zoe Moffatt

Renters across Melbourne’s north-west are feeling the squeeze, with new data relieving the median rent value jumped 13.4 per cent.

A new report from CoreLogic encapsulated the difficult time for renters throughout the country, with a national median rent uptick to $601 per week.

Renters throughout the north-west, including Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges, have fared better with a $519 median rent value.

However, CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said it’s a stressful time to see the cheapest areas rise so rapidly.

“It is very concerning to see our cheapest rental markets see such high increases because these are kind of last resort areas anyway for a lot of people on lower incomes,” she said.

“For the lower income households, this is going to be a really testing time. People are literally losing their accommodation because of how tight rental markets are.

“Where the housing situation is most critical right now is at that low income and spectrum and that’s where we need to be targeting.

“For median high income earners, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s not as much of a housing crisis, if you like.”

Ms Owen said the relative affordability of the north-west and west, which had a $491 median value, many have attracted renters.

“Even though Melbourne’s west and north-west have had relatively strong growth rates, median rent value across these areas is slightly lower than the $565 across the broader Melbourne market.”

She said bringing down these rent prices requires more dwelling supply, particularly in social and affordable housing.

“[It] takes time, especially right now, when construction costs are sitting about 30 per cent higher than at the onset of the pandemic.

“There’s a big backlog in the pipeline and completion times have blown out. The movement of people, however, is relatively quick.

“I think you’ll get the demand side response sooner than the completion of adequate dwellings, and that’s going to look like more shared housing or people just moving to cheaper areas.”