West Melbourne, Melbourne city, Docklands and Southbank all saw record annual rental growth of 34%, 33.6%, 33.2% and 32.6% respectively.
Median unit rents in inner Sydney suburbs Ultimo, Haymarket, Pyrmont and Zetland also rose sharply, jumping 20.5%, 20%, 19.5% and 18.6% respectively.
At the height of the pandemic lockdowns, apartment rents in central Melbourne had fallen by up to 25% as tenants avoided high-density housing for fear of catching the virus. Demand was further hampered by the lack of foreign students who normally rented in these areas.
“We saw demand drop sharply in central Sydney and central Melbourne in particular at the start of the pandemic, and now they are rebounding extraordinarily quickly well above pre-COVID-19 levels, simply because they were very affordable for starters, and we’re starting to see capitals become more vibrant as workers return to the office,” Lawless said.
“Now that is likely amplified by more migrants returning, which we know will be a key area where much of that overseas migration will land.”
Strong demand for detached homes has driven median rent up more than 21% in Sydney’s Brighton-le-Sands and a similar amount in the inner suburbs of Brisbane, Hendra and Ascot.
The upward trend in rents is also evident in each of the capital markets and the rest of the states, with the median rental value rising more than 10% nationally.
Mr Lawless said rising rents and falling home values would fuel a rapid recovery in rental yields and attract more investors to the market.
“Even though investors are generally primarily driven by capital gains, you have to think that the stronger buying conditions, the opportunities for higher returns, and then the positioning for medium to long-term capital gains will be quite attractive. for the next six to 12 months or so,” he said.
Sydney-based buyer’s agent Jack Henderson of Henderson Advocacy said the number of investors looking to buy had increased since the RBA began raising rates.
“We just had our biggest month of recruiting new clients and 90% of them are considering investing,” said Henderson/
“Many of them have built up a lot of equity in their owner-occupied homes over the past two years and have since refinanced to access that equity. Now they want to use that money to buy. Investors are also driven by rising rents and yields.
In all capitals combined, the gross yield fell from a record high of 2.96% in February this year to 3.2% in July. Sydney rose to 2.8%, Melbourne to 3%, Brisbane to 3.6%, Adelaide to 3.7% and Perth to 4.4%. Hobart rose to 3.8%, Darwin to 6.1% and Canberra to 3.8%.