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Rental Pain Index February 2024

Rental Pain Index February 2024

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The latest monthly findings from the Suburbtrends Rental Pain Index, released in February 2024, offer a critical snapshot of the evolving rental market crisis across Australia. This month's report is particularly impactful, revealing an intensification of rental stress as evidenced by the expanded analysis within the top 25 national lists. These lists have undergone further refinement due to an increasing number of suburb areas recording the highest possible distress score of 100 on the Rental Pain Index, highlighting the deepening extent of rental hardship faced by residents.

 A significant aspect of this month's report is the marked escalation in rental pain scores within Victoria, indicating a pronounced affordability crisis. This surge underscores the urgent need for targeted policy responses to mitigate the adverse effects of such trends, potentially preempting similar situations in other territories. The report casts a spotlight on the pressing challenges within the Victorian rental market, making it a bellwether for broader national trends.

 Kent Lardner, the founder of Suburbtrends, draws attention to the necessity for innovative and unconventional policy measures. By contrasting the Australian scenario with the higher prevalence of mobile home living in the United States, Lardner suggests a reevaluation of housing policy to include prefabricated homes as a swift and economical housing alternative. This approach is championed as a pivotal strategy for alleviating the current rental crisis, urging policymakers to consider broader, more adaptable housing solutions.

This month's Rental Pain Index is a clarion call for action, urging a departure from traditional housing strategies towards embracing a variety of housing models, including prefabrication. Through detailed analysis and national listings, Suburbtrends aims to steer policy discussions towards comprehensive strategies that address the escalating rental stress across Australia, advocating for immediate and innovative interventions to secure more accessible and affordable housing options for all Australians.

State Medians

State Average 12M Rental Increase (%) Rental Affordability (% of income) Vacancy Rate (%) Rental Pain Index
ACT -1.23% 24.29% 1.88% 49.80
NSW 9.66% 30.75% 1.34% 82.35
NT 5.27% 24.42% 1.96% 66.52
QLD 10.48% 30.09% 1.07% 85.15
SA 11.10% 28.78% 0.88% 85.32
TAS 2.06% 30.85% 1.36% 68.33
VIC 12.69% 26.68% 1.22% 81.55
WA 15.99% 29.04% 0.83% 86.44
National 10.64% 28.77% 1.20% 82.32


The recent analysis of the Australian rental market reveals a nuanced landscape of rental affordability, vacancy rates, and the ensuing rental pain across various states and nationally. A critical metric, the Rental Pain Index, surpasses the critical threshold of 75 in multiple states, indicating significant stress among renters in these areas.

Nationally, the median increase in rental prices over the past 12 months stands at 10.64%, reflecting a widespread escalation in rental costs. This increase is most pronounced in Western Australia (WA) with a staggering 15.99% surge, far outpacing other states. Victoria (VIC) and South Australia (SA) follow, with median increases of 12.69% and 11.10%, respectively, highlighting regions with rapidly heating rental markets.

 Rental affordability, expressed as a percentage of income spent on rent, varies significantly across the country, with the national median at 28.77%. New South Wales (NSW) experiences the highest median rental affordability strain at 30.75%, closely followed by Queensland (QLD) and Tasmania (TAS), indicating that a substantial portion of income in these states is dedicated to housing costs.

The Rental Pain Index, which measures the combined impact of rental affordability and availability, reveals critical levels of rental stress in several states. WA (86.44), SA (85.32), and QLD (85.15) exhibit the highest indices, substantially above the critical threshold, underscoring the acute challenges renters face in finding affordable housing. Notably, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) presents a contrasting scenario with the lowest rental pain index of 49.80, albeit with a negative median rental increase, suggesting a unique market dynamic.

 These findings underscore a critical juncture in the Australian rental market, with heightened rental pain indicative of a growing affordability crisis. The disparity between states in terms of rental increase, affordability, and pain points to the need for targeted policy interventions to alleviate the pressures on renters, particularly in the most affected regions. 

Extreme Pain

State Total Suburb Groups (SA2) Total With a Rental Pain Index Over 75 Percentage of the State in Extreme Rental Pain
ACT 98 5 5%
NSW 620 405 65%
NT 47 12 26%
QLD 516 399 77%
SA 157 123 78%
TAS 93 33 35%
VIC 507 354 70%
WA 231 190 82%
NATIONAL (all) 2269 1521 67%


The updated analysis of Australia's rental market delineates a concerning trajectory of escalating rental pain across the nation, with a pronounced surge in areas experiencing extreme rental pain, defined as having a Rental Pain Index over 75. The data reveals a stark national picture, where 67% of suburb groups fall within this distressing category, highlighting a deepening affordability crisis that impacts renters significantly.

 Victoria (VIC) emerges as a focal point of concern due to its substantial ascent in the rankings of rental pain. This shift is attributed to significant movements in both rental prices (% changes) and vacancy figures (large falls). Despite VIC's current positioning as relatively more affordable compared to other states, the underlying trends signal potential trouble ahead. With 70% of its suburb groups now engulfed in extreme rental pain, the state's situation is particularly alarming, underscoring the need for vigilant monitoring and prompt intervention.

 Contrasting sharply with Victoria's predicament, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) maintains the lowest percentage of suburb groups experiencing extreme rental pain, albeit the situation across the board is far from optimistic. States such as Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA) exhibit exceedingly high percentages, with more than three-quarters of their suburb groups facing critical levels of rental stress.

 This analysis accentuates the growing divide within Australia's rental market, with certain regions experiencing unprecedented levels of distress. The emergent patterns in Victoria, despite its current standing on the affordability spectrum, serve as a cautionary tale of the dynamic and volatile nature of rental markets, urging stakeholders to adopt a proactive stance in addressing the burgeoning crisis.


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