Sydney city rents plunge to 2013 levels giving tenants the power

Why you should be paying $125 a week LESS in rent: As apartment leases in Sydney and Melbourne fall to record lows, here’s how to cash in

  • Unit rents near the centre of Sydney have plunged to lowest levels since 2013
  • Eastern suburb houses, unit rents dropped by double digits in just six months 
  • Melbourne city apartment rents suffered the biggest six-month drop in 16 years
  • Domain senior analyst Nicola Powell said city tenants had power to negotiate 

Apartment rents in inner-city suburbs near Sydney Harbour have plunged to levels unseen since 2013 as COVID-19 gives tenants bargaining power.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, median weekly rents in cosmopolitan areas near the city and the beach have fallen by double-digit figures, online property site Domain has revealed.

Sydney rents near the central business district are now at six-year lows while Melbourne city rents have fallen at the fastest pace since records began in 2004. 

Living it up in Sydney’s ritzy eastern suburbs is now a lot more affordable with house rents plunging by 12.3 per cent or $125 – to just $895 a week – between the March and September quarters.

Apartment rents in inner-city suburbs near Sydney Harbour have plunged to levels unseen since 2013 as COVID-19 gives tenants bargaining power. Upmarket Rushcutters Bay now has a studio apartment (pictured) being leased for $335 a week, following a 12.3 per cent plunge in city and eastern suburbs unit rents since March

Apartment rents in inner-city suburbs near Sydney Harbour have plunged to levels unseen since 2013 as COVID-19 gives tenants bargaining power. Upmarket Rushcutters Bay now has a studio apartment (pictured) being leased for $335 a week, following a 12.3 per cent plunge in city and eastern suburbs unit rents since March

For less than $1,000 a week, it is possible to rent a house at Bellevue Hill with a view of the harbour. 

Where rents have plunged since COVID

Sydney city and eastern suburbs houses: down 12.3 per cent or $125 to $895 a week

Sydney city and eastern suburbs units: down 12.3 per cent or $80 to $570 a week

Melbourne city units: down 13.4 per cent or $65 to $420 a week

Source: Domain median weekly rents data comparing March and September quarters of 2020 

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Unit rents in the city and the eastern suburbs have fallen by 12.3 per cent, or $80, to $570 a week.

Upmarket Rushcutters Bay now has a studio apartment being leased for $335 a week. 

Unit rents on the lower north shore have dropped by 11.7 per cent, or $70, to $530.

A one-bedroom apartment at St Leonards is available for $400 a week. 

Domain senior research analyst, Dr Nicola Powell, said the closure of Australia’s border and the absence of international students given tenants more negotiating power, at least in inner-city areas of Sydney.

‘Tenants in the inner-city will have benefited from greater falls in asking rents and will be better placed to negotiate than those outer suburbs,’ she said.

‘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.’

Sydney has been, by far, the worst-affected market with unit asking rents falling by another one per cent in the September quarter to $495.

In just six months, rents in Australia’s biggest city have plunged by 4.8 per cent – with inner-city areas suffering much sharper falls than the outer suburbs.

For less than $1,000 a week, it is possible to rent a house at Bellevue Hill with a view (pictured) of the harbour. Living it up in Sydney's ritzy eastern suburbs is now a lot more affordable with house rents plunging by 12.3 per cent or $125 - to just $895 a week - between the March and September quarters

For less than $1,000 a week, it is possible to rent a house at Bellevue Hill with a view (pictured) of the harbour. Living it up in Sydney’s ritzy eastern suburbs is now a lot more affordable with house rents plunging by 12.3 per cent or $125 – to just $895 a week – between the March and September quarters

Melbourne’s rental market has been hit too during the past six months, with the strict Stage Four lockdown causing the sharpest drop in percentage terms of any capital city in Australia.

‘The pandemic has had a once-in-lifetime impact on the rental market, reducing supply at a time supply has bounced,’ Dr Powell said.

‘The decline in Melbourne unit rents has been the greatest of all the capital cities, accelerated by the stricter, Stage Four lockdown.’

Dr Powell said this marked the deepest fall over two consecutive quarters since the Domain series began in 2004.

Weekly, inner-city unit rents since March have dived by 13.4 per cent, or $65, to $420.

The upmarket inner-east, unit rents have fallen by eight per cent, or $35, to $435.

Melbourne's rental market has been hit too during the past six months. Weekly, inner-city unit rents since March have dived by 13.4 per cent, or $65, to $420. Pictured is the Docklands area

Melbourne’s rental market has been hit too during the past six months. Weekly, inner-city unit rents since March have dived by 13.4 per cent, or $65, to $420. Pictured is the Docklands area

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