Demand for rental properties has pushed rents higher once again, new data has revealed.
According to the latest statistics from Australian Property Monitors, house and unit rentals have resumed upward growth after flat results over the previous two quarters.
National median weekly asking rents for houses rose by 1.1 per cent in the December quarter, with rents for units rising by 1.4 per cent.
Speaking about the results, Australian Property Monitors senior economist Andrew Wilson said the Sydney, Perth and Canberra rental markets have been characterised by chronically low vacancy rates and, with ongoing low levels of new construction, this situation is expected to continue with upward pressure on rentals.
"The Brisbane rental market also remains highly competitive for tenants reflecting ongoing consequences of the devastating floods of early 2011 and the slow progress of reconstruction," he said.
"Melbourne continues to be Australia's most tenant-friendly rental market with a wider choice of properties courtesy of nation-leading dwelling construction and no growth in rentals for both units and houses over the December quarter.
"By contrast house rentals in Canberra rose by 6.4 per cent over the year with Perth up by 5.3 per cent, Sydney up 4.2 per cent and Brisbane up by 2.7 per cent."
But while rental demand was high in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane last quarter, Mr Wilson said he expected demand and price growth to peak in 2012.
"Peaking housing affordability as the price cycle bottoms out, combined with a strengthening economy will facilitate increased buyer activity in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Darwin through 2012 that will take some pressure off the rental markets in these capitals," he said.