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The suburbs around Australia where rents are cheaper than they were five years ago

Despite rents generally soaring across the country over the last five years, there are still spots in most capital cities where it’s possible to find rents that have actually fallen since 2016 – and sometimes spectacularly.

Rents in one suburb of a city plunged by nearly half over the period, in another they fell by over one-third, and in another by over a quarter, according to the latest quarterly Domain Rent Report.

“COVID-19 has been a key driver of huge change across the country,” said Quentin Kilian, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory. “People are now looking for lifestyle changes, there’s new technology that wasn’t available a few years ago, and everything has changed.”

The disruption and economic changes have caused some rents to rise, and others to absolutely plummet. Those seeking the biggest bargains could do a lot worse than checking out houses in the city centre of Darwin, for instance, where rents are, on average, an astonishing 42.7 per cent cheaper than they were five years ago. Today, they sit at just $430 a week.

Nowhere else in Darwin comes close to such amazing falls. The city’s next biggest house rent fall, compared to 2016, was in Nightcliff in the north, where rents fell by 15 per cent to $510 a week. Malak was close behind with a fall of 13.6 per cent to $445.

There were some Darwin suburbs where unit rentals fell substantially, too. In Rapid Creek, rents fell 16.7 per cent to $127 a week, in Darwin city by 13.6 per cent to $475 – $45 more than a house rent there – and both Leanyer and Marrara by 12.5 per cent to $350 each.

These long-term falls have been the result of Darwin’s boom-or-bust economy, with the $40 billion Inpex gas project coming to a close and its 8000 workers leaving town.


The Darwin economy is boom and bust, and the end of the Inpex project meant rents plummeted in many areas. 

By contrast in these topsy-turvy times, in the last year alone, rents picked up on average across the whole of Darwin by a record 20.9 per cent for houses, and by 18.4 per cent for units, mostly from people now coming to live there as a COVID-19 safe haven.

“As a result of that, we’re now seeing record yields, with rents now increasing faster than prices for houses and units,” said Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell.

But the next city to endure such heart-warming – or heart-breaking – falls, depending on whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, is Sydney. Even though rents have hit dizzy levels in some suburbs, in others, they’ve hit rock bottom.

Units in Millers Point, for instance, in the newly bijou area of the city after Housing Commission tenants were moved on, have crashed by 33.8 per cent to $660 a week. In the south west’s Canterbury-Bankstown, Bass Hill rents have fallen by 29.1 per cent to $433, and in North Ryde on the Upper North Shore, they’re 29 per cent cheaper at $477.

Millers Point also had the biggest drop in house rents, of 20 per cent to $1000, while Ultimo on the city fringe dropped 15.2 per cent to $655 and Waverley in the east by 14.4 per cent to $1113.


Rents in some Perth suburbs have fallen sharply over the past five years. Photo: ZambeziShark 

Perth had the next biggest falls in the country, with North Coogee, in the city’s coastal south-west, seeing house rents down 27.7 per cent to $543 a week. Rents for houses in inner-city Northbridge also fell by 10.6 per cent to $1225 and in nearby Highgate by 9.5 per cent to $430.

Unit rents also softened considerably over the past five years in Burswood, home of the Perth Crown complex, by 13.8 per cent to $430, in Ellenbrook to the north east by 11.8 per cent to $300 and in Shoalwater to the south by 11.1 per cent to $240.

Melbourne’s Docklands and Southbank were the biggest losers in more ways than one over the past five years in terms of rental returns. Rents for Docklands units plunged by 24.5 per cent to $400 a week, while its houses delivered 22.5 per cent less than they did in 2016 to a weekly rent of $500.

Southbank endured the same size drop in unit rents, at 24.5 per cent to $390 while houses there fell by slightly less – 20 per cent – to $400. The size of the drop in rents for houses in Melbourne city were sandwiched between the two, at 22.2 per cent to $350, while unit rents in Caulfield East dropped 22.8 per cent to $285.


Rent prices in Fortitude Valley have slipped since 2016. Photo: Tammy Law 

Brisbane generally had fewer suburbs were rents fell compared to five years ago, and the drops weren’t quite as large. For houses, South Brisbane was the biggest downward mover at 16.1 per cent to a weekly rent of $470, Park Ridge in Brisbane’s west had a 15.2 per cent drop to $390 and Fortitude Valley to the north had a 12 per cent fall to $475.

The biggest drops in Brisbane’s units were in Brisbane City at 18.2 per cent, down to a weekly rent of $450, Rocklea in the west with a fall of 12.5 per cent to $280, and Spring Hill in the north, dropping 9.1 per cent to $400.

And those traditionally quiet achievers of the property market, Adelaide and Hobart, were both remarkable for not having a single suburb were rents fell compared to their level five years ago.


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Olympic Village’s Green Bridge to City Revealed

Green Bridge

Plans for Brisbane’s newest pedestrianised Green Bridge have been finalised and lodged for approval, according to Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

Construction of the bridge would be fast-tracked, subject to approval, according to the Brisbane City Council and work is to commence later this year.

Schrinner said it would provide a “critical connection” for the 2032 Olympics Athletes Village at Northshore Hamilton.

“Once complete the new bridge will provide a critical connection for people walking, cycling or scooting along our new Lores Bonney Riverwalk, and also the Brisbane 2032 Athletes’ Village at Northshore Hamilton, which is set to host more than 10,000 Olympians and officials, and 5000 Paralympians,” he said.

The commencement of construction would be subject to approval from independent planners. Schrinner said the construction would provide $67 million in local industry investment and about 140 jobs.

Schrinner said the investment in a green bridge would better connect the area for active transport users.

“The final design, which has been submitted as part of the application, has been refined following community feedback, and shows an 80m-long bridge with an arch design,” he said.

Schrinner said the colour palette reflected the area’s Moreton Bay fig trees and Newstead Park, and would include LED lighting, rest stops and a direct connection to the Riverwalk.

It is part of a $550-million green bridge program across the city, along with the Kangaroo Point green bridge, which has also been expedited.

Green Bridge

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Charter Hall leads the charge with $560m industrial deals

Charter Hall

Funds management and development juggernaut Charter Hall has swooped on $560 million worth of industrial properties as it builds its pipeline to service the explosive growth in the ecommerce, data and cold storage sectors.

Defying the pandemic-hit market conditions, it has acquired and settled 17 assets which have lucrative high-quality tenant covenants, with long lease terms ranging up to 16.9 years and located in large industrial precincts with proximity to major infrastructure and metropolitan areas.

Further boosting its $16 billion pipeline, Charter Hall has purchased a number of development sites that come with surplus land for expansion and development. The group has forecast the industrial portfolio will grow beyond $20 billion.

Charter Hall is an ASX-listed $7.75 billion diversified manager that specialises in assets with long leases across the traditional sectors of office, retail and industrial as well as fast-moving consumer foods, pubs, healthcare and childcare.

Charter Hall chief executive David Harrison said the acquisitions build on the group’s strong momentum in acquiring high-quality industrial assets in prime locations across Australia.

“We continue to lead the Australian market in deal volume, and our ability to secure high-quality assets off-market continues to deliver long-term value for the business and superior outcomes for our capital partners and investors,” Mr Harrison said.

Major tenant customers secured with the latest acquisitions include Australia Post, Toll, Border Express, Cleanaway, Zirconia (Iron Mountain) and state government agencies. One large site is the distribution centre in Lytton, Brisbane leased by Kmart.

Charter Hall industrial and logistics chief executive Richard Stacker said with a further $3 billion of investment capacity together with a captive development pipeline, “we would expect our $16 billion industrial portfolio to grow beyond $20 billion over coming years.”

The deals reflect how the country’s commercial property sales moved up a gear in the second quarter, with the industrial sector posting the strongest ever quarterly deal flow, the latest Australia Capital Trends report from Real Capital Analytics (RCA) shows.

Benjamin Martin-Henry, RCA’s head of analytics, Pacific, said quarterly sales of industrial stock outpaced offices and retail properties combined for only the second time since the start of 2020, having never achieved this feat in the previous two decades.

“This record was despite a relatively quiet first quarter for the industrial market. With a hefty deal pipeline of around $2 billion of industrial deals awaiting settlement, 2021 is highly likely to be a record-breaking year for the sector,” Mr Martin-Henry said.

Commercial property sales worth $13.4 billion were closed over the second quarter, up 15 per cent on the same period last year. For the first six months of 2021, volumes reached $21.2 billion, up 11 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

Together with the Charter Hall deals, Blackstone completed the sale of the Milestone Industrial Portfolio to GIC and ESR for $3.8 billion, while LOGOS, together with partners Australian Super, Ivanhoe Cambridge, TCorp and AXA IM Alts, bought Australia’s largest intermodal logistics facility – Moorebank Logistics Park (MLP) in Sydney – for $1.67 billion from Qube.


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Bridge to 2032 – Brekky Ck span approved, missing link for Games athletes’ village

Green Bridge

Brisbane is set to have another major infrastructure project underway by the end of the year after Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner lodged the final design of the Breakfast Creek green bridge with planning officers for approval.

The $67 million project is likely to provide a smoother connection for pedestrians and cyclists moving between the fast-growing riverside development at Northshore Hamilton and the CBD.

The 80-metre arch will cross Breakfast Creek to connect Newstead Park with the existing Lores Bonney riverwalk which was part of the now completed Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade.

“This is a crucial step towards securing the final approvals we need to commence work on the green bridge that will provide a $67 million investment in local industry, deliver a new active transport options and create 140 local construction jobs,” Schrinner said.

“The Lores Bonney Riverwalk is currently used 2300 times a day, and this new green bridge will improve safety and increase capacity to the riverwalk by creating a continues walking and cycling connection.”

He said the Breakfast Creek project would join the now-approved Kangaroo Point green bridge as fast-tracked investments to create jobs as the city headed out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brekky Ck

The council has also linked the project to the 2032 Olympics, saying it will be a “key connector” for the planned Athletes Village at Hamilton and provide a critical transport link for the Games.

Two other cross-river pedestrian and cycle links connecting Toowong to West End and St Lucia to West End remain on the council’s green bridge program books but are yet to be funded.

The council insists the remaining bridges need federal and state government funding to go ahead.


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