International Students are Impacting Australia’s Decreasing Rent Prices

Rent prices in Australia are dropping significantly as a result of the pandemic according to SQM Research. Rent prices in Sydney have decreased to their lowest level since 2013, while inner-city rent prices in Melbourne have dipped to their lowest point since 2004. 

It’s believed that one of the main drivers behind Australia’s nationwide price downturn is the decrease in international student numbers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting border closure. Due to the fact that this heavily impacts the Australian economy, median weekly rents have taken a fall.

Rent prices across Australia 

Australia’s largest cities like Sydney and Melbourne have been most affected by these rental price drops, with cosmopolitan, inner-city areas being hit hardest. Although, Adelaide and Canberra have bucked this trend and recorded increases (albeit small ones) in weekly rent prices. Consequently, Sydney is no longer the most expensive city in Australia for renters, with Canberra now in first place.

Interestingly, outer suburb prices remained fairly consistent across Australia. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dr Nicola Powell, senior research analyst at Domain, has cited the closure of Australia’s borders as the reason why inner-city suburbs have been most affected. These areas often have thousands of international students living in them, but only 50 students arrived in August this year (compared to 54,910 in August 2019 – a 99.9% drop) and it’s still uncertain when others will be able to return to Australia.

“Changes in demand have been more pronounced in inner areas because they have a greater exposure to international students as well as lockdown job losses,” said Dr Powell. 

Image courtesy of Daily Mail.

How does this affect you?

Dr Powell believes that this drop in rental prices gives tenants in inner-city areas better negotiating power. When there’s less demand for apartments, renters are in a strong position because landlords need tenants in order to receive regular rent payments. For international students in particular, many of whom have lost work and aren’t eligible for federal government support, this could be huge. 

Visit the Domain website for tips on negotiating your rent.

Important information for renters

It’s worth being aware of what financial help you’re entitled to as an international student in Australia. Your educational institution or state government may offer support if you’re experiencing financial hardship. If you’re struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, make sure to reach out to your education provider to see what support they’re offering and what you’re entitled to receive. 

It’s important that you fully understand your rights as a tenant and know what behaviour is and isn’t legal in Australia. Tenancy rights will vary across Australia depending upon which state you live in, but this article offers a quick breakdown of the basics.