Renters are no longer just cash-strapped students living in pokey rooms near universities. Census figures show that 42 per cent of private renter households were made up of families with children. According to Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) figures, in 2016 there were 2.1 million households in the private rental sector, which is up 38 per cent from 1996. Renters now make up over a quarter of Australian households, with this figure set to increase further.
This is one of the fastest growing parts of the housing system, and it is driving development within inner city areas for those who want to enjoy lifestyles similar with those living in other major cities of the world, where access to entertainment, parkland, work, gyms, restaurants and cafes is the norm.
After releasing its figures on the rental market, the AHURI noted that “private renters are not second-class citizens and increasingly expect and require a high level of service for the rent that they pay.” In other words, landlords have to step up, and treat their investments like jobs.
In Melbourne, the shift towards a rental lifestyle has been noticeable for all demographics, with apartment living an increasingly common sight within the inner-city areas. But there are still plenty of free-standing homes attracting an increasing number of renters as an ageing population monopolises on its capital gains to enter the market as investors.
So, which areas within inner-Melbourne attracted the most attention from renters in 2017? We looked at our median rental figures to find the most popular areas within that inner ring.
Note: these rental figures are for houses only.
10 most popular inner-Melbourne suburbs for renters
Collingwood is well-known for its apartment living, with significant developments along Cambridge and Oxford Streets creating new warehouse living arrangements for renters. Yet freestanding homes in the area continue to attract high demand, with rental lease volumes for houses 22.1 per cent higher in March 2018 compared to March 2017 (from 86 to 105).
Nestled in Melbourne’s north-west, Essendon is an increasingly popular area for renters, seeing a 22.3 per cent increase in rental volumes in March 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. This lease volume is comparatively high when compared to surrounding suburbs, with 214 freestanding houses leased in March.
Carlton has for a long time been a rental destination point for students seeking accommodation close to both the University of Melbourne and the city. But as renting becomes the norm, students have had to give way to a greater number of young professionals and families. The lease volume of houses in Carlton was 23.5 per cent higher in March 2018 compared to the same time last year.
Hawthorn has a large number of freestanding terrace homes, and lease volumes were 24.5 per cent higher (from 184 to 229) in March compared to March 2017. This was also 43.1 per cent higher than March 2015, indicating a considerable increase of renters in the area, which points to a possible demographic shift in the area as homeowners become landlords.
20 Kooyongkoot Road, Hawthorn – 4 bedrooms
The leafy-green suburb of Carlton North attracts every possible demographic, with rising house prices creating an increase in demand for rental opportunities. Lease volumes for houses in the area were 25.7 per cent higher in March compared to the same time last year, while this figure was 41.5 per cent higher than March 2015.
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Coburg saw a rental volume increase of 35.8 per cent when comparing March 2018 to a year prior. With this percentage representing a difference from 285 houses leased to 387, it is clear that Coburg is also set to become a suburb of renters as those looking for first homes are pushed further out.
4. Albert Park
Albert Park is another great example of an inner-Melbourne suburb that is dominated by freestanding houses, which continues to drive rental demand. Lease volumes for houses in the area were up 36.1 per cent in March compared to the same period last year, with this figure also 47.7 per cent higher than March 2015.
We now get to the suburbs that have seen a staggering increase in rental volumes over the past year. Remember that this does not include units. Lease volumes for houses in the inner-northern suburb of Brunswick were 42.8 per cent higher (from 304 to 434) in March this year, compared to March last year.
Getting further out into the suburbs, but still only 6km east of the CBD, Kew saw a significant increase in the lease volume of houses in March this year, up 43.4 per cent compared to March last year.
The inner-Melbourne suburb that saw the most action in the rental market last month was Brunswick East, which had a lease volume that was 46 per cent higher than March 2017. This figure is only 8.1 per cent higher than three years ago, however, indicating a slight dip in the local rental market activity until bouncing back this March.
What suburb in Australia saw the largest lease volume activity in March? Only Melbourne’s very own Point Cook, which saw a lease volume of 1,814 in March, which is 19.1 per cent higher than March 2017.