Friday, October 05, 2007

Trying to rent in Canberra? You would be better off almost anywhere else.

If you’re attempting to rent a house in Canberra, prepare to be asked to fork out $400 a week.

That “extraordinary" record high median asking price, determined in a national survey including suburbs in Gungahlin, Belconnen, central Canberra and Tuggeranong was exceeded only in Darwin.

Australian Property Monitors, which surveyed the asking prices, found that Canberra’s had increased the fastest in Australia after Perth’s.

But at $400 a week the typical rent sought in Canberra was way in excess of the $320 sought in Perth, and on a par with that asked for in Sydney and on the Gold Coast.

APM’s General Manager Michael MacNamara described the Canberra asking prices as “extraordinary”...

They exceeded those in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast as well as those Adelaide, Hobart and Newcastle.

Mr MacNamara pointed out that the survey was limited to “asking rents” – those quoted in the last advertisement before the properties were tenanted.

Where properties were in very short supply and potential tenants engaged in bidding wars the rents actually paid might be higher.

Conversely, landlords were unlikely to charge their continuing tenants as much as they sought from new ones, seeing a change of tenant as an opportunity to lift their asking price.

The typical asking price for a Canberra house has climbed from $340 to $400 over the last year – an increase of 18 per cent. The typical asking price for a unit has climbed from $330 to $370, an increase of 12 per cent.

Units in Canberra are Australia’s second-most expensive on the basis of asking price – only $10 a week cheaper than those in Sydney.

The cheapest of the Canberra suburbs surveyed were Cook and Kambah, where the asking rents for a house ranged from $280 to $380. The most expensive were Ainslie and Barton where the asking rents ranged from $320 to $800.

The cheapest suburbs surveyed in which to rent units were Kingston and Griffith where asking prices ranged from $320 to $360. The most expensive were Barton and Civic where prices asked for ranged from $335 to $700.

The survey suggested that Canberra and Darwin are the best cities in Australia in which to buy a units to rent, promising gross rental yields of 5.7 per cent - well above the 4.9 per cent yields promised in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

But a year ago things were even better for new Canberra landlords – lower property prices meant that the gross rental yield on a Canberra unit was 6.4 per cent, way in excess of that in any other Australian city.