Despite new data showing that national rents fell over the last quarter, prospective tenants are increasingly looking for a home, REA Group has found.
According to the group, the volume of rental searches on realestate.com.au is up 38.5 per cent. This comes in spite of national rents falling by 1.3 per cent over the last quarter.
“Nationally, the cost of renting is now back at levels last recorded in March 2017,” REA Group director of economic research Cameron Kusher said.
“Not only are people searching more, the volume of high-intent activity on the rental section of realestate.com.au is also up by 74.5 per cent over the same period.”
Mr Kusher said the results are a clear indicator of how COVID-19 has changed the property market dynamic.
“Rental rates are coming under pressure from multiple sources. We have virtually no migration, there is new stimulus encouraging purchasing from first home buyers who otherwise may have been renters, and then there’s the fact that unemployment is rising, and younger people are most affected,” he said.
“With a moratorium on rental evictions in place until September, the next quarter is unlikely to see rental CPI fall as severely. Thereafter, it is likely rental rates will fall further and will take quite some time to recover to previous highs.
“The high demand on realestate.com.au is likely due to the possibility of finding cheaper and or better rentals, as evidenced by the CPI data.”