Rents soar to record highs on Sydney's Northern Beaches and the Gold Coast but plunge on North Shore

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Rents soar to record highs on Sydney's Northern Beaches and the Gold Coast but plunge on North Shore

Renting by the beach soars to record highs – but there are some surprising bargains near the city with tenants in trendy suburbs payin

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Renting by the beach soars to record highs – but there are some surprising bargains near the city with tenants in trendy suburbs paying 16% LESS

  • Rents on Sydney’s Lower North Shore have plunged by 16 per cent in just a year
  • The neighbouring Northern Beaches saw rents soar to record highs in late 2020
  • The same thing occurred on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, NSW Central Coast
  • Canberra was still the most expensive capital city market for a house or a unit
  • Melbourne last year the third cheapest for an apartment after Adelaide and Perth

Rents by the beach have hit record highs as living costs in rich, inner-city areas have plunged by 16 per cent, new data shows.

New working-from-home arrangements have created stark rental market contrasts – even in neighbouring areas of Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

Weekly rents soared to record highs on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, even during the pre-Christmas lockdown, as competition among tenants also intensified on Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine coasts, and the New South Wales Central Coast. 

The reluctance of professionals to attend a city office each day has had the opposite effect on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, a wealthy area near the Harbour Bridge, with weekly unit rents plummeting by 16 per cent in one year, online property sales site Domain has revealed.

Weekly rents soared to record highs on Sydney's Northern Beaches, even during the pre-Christmas lockdown. Pictured is a house at Palm Beach

Weekly rents soared to record highs on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, even during the pre-Christmas lockdown. Pictured is a house at Palm Beach

Median apartment rents in this area along a train line fell to a nine-year low of $500 in December 2020, a 5.7 per cent drop from September’s $530.

Where apartment rents have plunged and soared

Sydney’s Lower North Shore: down 16 per cent

Sydney city and eastern suburbs: down 15.4 per cent

Sydney Inner West: down 10.5 per cent

Queensland Sunshine Coast: up 7.5 per cent 

Source: Domain data for December 2020 

Across the harbour, unit rents in the city and the eastern suburbs slipped by an annual pace of 15.4 per cent to an eight-year low of $550 as the border closure kept out international students.

House rents plunged by 12 per cent to $880. 

Conversely, weekly apartment rents in the neighbouring Northern Beaches last year rose by five per cent to a record-high $630.

This area of Sydney, stretching from Manly to Palm Beach, bucked a city-wide trend that saw rents in Australia’s biggest city fall by the steepest pace on record, with apartment leases back to 2013 levels. 

House rents in this area climbed by a modest annual pace of 2.1 per cent to $990. 

On the other side of Broken Bay, on the Central Coast, median house rents surged by seven per cent to a record-high $460.

That is still cheaper than greater Sydney’s mid-point weekly unit rent of $470.

As a result tenants, who can work from home, have increasingly moved an hour north of Sydney to lease a house with a backyard as an alternative to a cramped unit in the city.

The reluctance of professionals to attend a city office each day has had the opposite effect on Sydney's Lower North Shore, a wealthy area near the Harbour Bridge, with weekly unit rents plummeting by 16 per cent in one year, online property sales site Domain has revealed. Pictured is a view from Milsons Point

The reluctance of professionals to attend a city office each day has had the opposite effect on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, a wealthy area near the Harbour Bridge, with weekly unit rents plummeting by 16 per cent in one year, online property sales site Domain has revealed. Pictured is a view from Milsons Point

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said a similar phenomenon had seen house and unit rents soar to record highs on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

‘It is clear lifestyle locations are experiencing an increase in demand from local travellers and those working from home opt to relocate,’ she said.

Gold Coast house rents rose by annual pace 3.8 per cent to $540 while rents for equivalent properties on the Sunshine Coast rose six per cent to $530.

Units in this beach-side area north of Brisbane, stretching from Caloundra to Maroochydore and Noosa, surged by 7.5 per cent in one year to $430.

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said the ability for more people to be able to work from home saw house and unit rents soar to record highs on the Gold Coast. Pictured is the view from a Surfers Paradise canal house

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said the ability for more people to be able to work from home saw house and unit rents soar to record highs on the Gold Coast. Pictured is the view from a Surfers Paradise canal house

When it came to apartment affordability across Australia, for the first time in five years, Melbourne in 2020 was the third most affordable capital city to rent a unit, with a median asking price of $388 compared with  $350 in Perth and $340 in Adelaide.

Among the capital cities, house and unit rents last year hit record highs in Canberra,  Adelaide and Brisbane.

Canberra’s median house rent of $600 was the most expensive in Australia, as was the mid-point weekly unit cost of $495, proving that not all sought-after rental suburbs are near the beach.

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