It comes amid news rental vacancy rates have plunged back to record lows, with just 0.8% of rental properties available last month.

InfoChoice money analyst Harrison Astbury stated the Federal Government should have addressed the issue directly at last week’s caucus, designed to offer Aussies cost-of-living relief. 

Nearly all (96%) of the 1,000 renters surveyed by the comparison website believe the government should do more to help their situations, while over a third thought it was most to blame. 

“Renters have faced a tough time over the past 12 months due to a perfect storm of rising rents and high inflation which has also forced up costs in other areas of their household budgets,” Mr Astbury said.

“With almost one-third of Australians renting their home, high rents are a major social and political issue which will need to be dealt with if the government is to regain credibility on the cost-of-living crisis.”

The InfoChoice Rent Crisis Survey found nearly eight in 10 renters have faced an rental price increase in the last 12 months.

While the ‘perfect storm’ isn’t likely to end soon, Domain chief of research and economics, Dr Nicola Powell, sees a “glimmer of hope”.

“We are likely moving into a period of slower rental growth and the number of prospective tenants per rental listing is easing,” she said. 

“This suggests that rental demand is pulling back and while it hasn’t been enough to boost the vacancy rate, it could be on the horizon.”

She has foreseen a “tipping point” for the rental market in recent times, buoyed by an influx of renters entering the housing market amid potential interest rate cuts later this year.

Rental market influences the vote of nearly 50% of tenants

The latest report from InfoChoice also includes some data points that could worry politicians.

The rental market will influence the vote of nearly half of Australian renters, with that figure higher in Queensland (53.3%) as the state prepares for an election later this year – of which housing looks likely to be a key issue. 

Queensland Premier Steven Miles is “putting the finishing touches” on his government’s Homes for Queenslanders plan while Opposition Leader David Crisafulli promises to increase the limit on the state’s first home buyer stamp duty concession. 

Meanwhile, Roy Morgan found support for the Federal Labor Government tumbled 2% to 50.5% in the wake of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announcing changes to the stage three tax cuts.

The cuts will see more in the pockets of low and middle income earners.

However, the impact likely won’t do much to offset the fact that the majority (58%) of renters feel they won’t be able to afford to buy a home in the coming five years.

Another 37% believe they will never be able to afford to buy their own home.

“As well as damaging their standard of living, high rents are reducing the ability of renters to save for a home deposit and get their foot on the property ladder, so it really is a rental trap,” Mr Astbury said.

At the same time, house prices hit a new record high last month, with the median property price approaching $760,000, according to CoreLogic.

So, what policies would renters like to see implemented to help ease the housing crisis?

Nearly 90% of respondents want to see some form of cap on rental price increases.

More than a quarter agreed that more public housing would be the best solution, while an increase in intensives for homebuilders came in close behind, earning the support of nearly 24%. 

One in six believe limiting the use of short-stay platforms, such as Airbnb, could offer reprieve, and one in five think reducing immigration could ease demand.

InfoChoice notes that few renters (less than 5%) say loosening density restrictions would be the primary factor in helping to balance the rental market.

Image by Sardaka on Wikimedia Commons

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