The challenging conditions of Australia’s rental market in 2023 were felt by households far and wide but the year end saw some record-high property prices. Read the full list of the most expensive and cheapest suburbs to rent here. 
While Australians continue to battle financial pressures brought on by the crippling economic climate of 2023, the property market remains one looking bleak with soaring home prices persistently heaping pressure on households.
Demand for housing easily outstripped supply across the country through all of last year, putting upward pressure on rentals, not the least of which was worsened by issues of a strained construction sector, incessant interest rate rises, labour shortages, and a creeping up population.
The challenging conditions also saw the country hit a record-low vacancy rate in rentals – as a higher number of prospective homebuyers were turned away – and rental prices resultantly peaked at unprecedented levels.
After what was the “longest continuous stretch of rising asking rents” through ten consecutive quarters, the year concluded with rents sitting at a record-high across all combined capital cities, new statistics published this week revealed.
According to the Domain Rent Report for the September to December quarter of 2023, New South Wales recorded the most number of locations with increased rent costs annually.
Ivanhoe East, in Melbourne’s north, topped the charted for the largest annual increase in rents in Australia, with median prices for units rising a massive 46.3 per cent.
Across the nation’s capitals, Sydney cemented its status as the most expensive city for renters, while slowing growth saw Melbourne reclaim its title as the cheapest city for to rent a house.
The report provided a localised breakdown of the most expensive and cheapest suburbs for renter in a state-to-state and capital city comparison.
For NSW, the top 10 most expensive rental suburbs were all in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, with the exception of two on the lower north shore.
Vaucluse came in at first place, with median weekly rent for a house at a whopping $2,800 at an annual increase of 12.2 per cent. Dover Heights, and Double Bay trailed behind with prices upward of $2,350.
Unsurprisingly, the 10 most expensive suburbs in Sydney were also the most expensive in Australia.
Melbourne’s list fared significantly better – despite similar percentage hikes – with the most expensive property rental for a house in the southeastern suburb of Brighton being $1,200 after a 20 per cent annual change.
Brisbane also drew a parallel picture, recording its most expensive median rent for a house in Ascot at $1,100, tailed closely by Hawthorne at $1,050.
Rentals in the suburbs of New Farm, Bulimba, Chelmer, and Teneriffe ranged between $900-$950.
Meanwhile Canberra was a particular exception.
The capital of the nation witnessed a negative trend of annual rent changes, and saw median prices drop widely.
Red Hill and Yarralumla were the priciest suburbs to rent a home at $968 and $925 a week respectively, but both saw reductions of 3.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent in the year. Deakin, at third place, saw an annual dropdown of 15.8 per cent, bringing rents down to $895 per week.
For Perth, the top five most expensive suburbs all surpassed the $1,000 mark. The affluent waterside suburbs of Dalkeith and City Beach came with the heftiest price tags of $1,200 a week.
But the most affordable capital city to rent a property from the lot (Domain report did not provide comparisons for Hobart and Darwin), was the South Australian capital of Adelaide.
The highest median weekly asking rent in the city was for St Peters, in the east, at $753 for a house – even after an annual increase of more than 25 per cent.
Kensington Park followed at $720, and Linden Park, Grange, Henley Beach, Somerton Park, and Henley Beach South all at $700.
On the opposite end of the scale, the report also gave insights into the cheapest suburbs to rent in for each of the cities. The listings were narrowed down to a radius of within 10km of the CBD.
All entries for the cheapest rentals were comprised of units.
For Sydney, the inner-western suburbs of Haberfield, Lilyfield, Gladesville, Summer Hill, and Stanmore swept up the top five spots with asking rents of an average $550 and below.
Caulfield East, Gardenvale, and West Footscray were the cheapest places to rent in Melbourne at a median weekly price of just $350, $360, and $380 each.
For Brisbane, Rocklea in the CBD’s south was the most inexpensive at $355, followed by Salisbury at $380 and Grange at $420.
This was tied with Adelaide’s Kurralta Park, which also recorded weekly asking rents of $355. Brooklyn Park was next at $360 and Plympton at $365.
Lastly in Perth, Osborne Park proved to be the cheapest suburb to rent a unit at a media price of $400 per week, followed by Maylands at $415 and Glendalough at $425. 
Despite an overtly grim outlook of the national rental market finishing things off in 2023, analysts suggest better prospects are around the corner for renters with “extreme rent hikes” losing traction across most of the capital cities.
“While the strain on Australia’s rental market remains evident as the year closed there’s a glimmer of hope that conditions are easing and rental price growth is slowing,” the Domain report said.
“There are a number of factors slowing rental growth — stretched affordability, more renters opting for house shares and a slow return of investors over 2023.
“These factors will continue to play out in 2024, but with new first-home buyer incentives in place (such as Queensland doubling the first-home buyer grant and the anticipated federal government’s ‘Help to Buy’ shared equity scheme), it will help transition some to being owners or fast-track others to a more affordable purchase.”
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