Rental Survey 2023: Too Damn High? Three in Five Aussies Say Their Rent Is “Overpriced”

Savvy takes a comprehensive look at the state of renting in Australia amid high inflation and interest rates
Published on April 24th, 2023
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Commentary by 
David Webb

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David Webb
With 14 years’ experience across sales, property management, as a business owner and as an agency supplier, Homely's Head of Industry and Revenue, David Webb, brings a breadth of valuable industry knowledge to his work at Homely, while seeking to anticipate the demands of an ever-changing industry.
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Young woman stressed over her rental contract

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A nationally representative survey of Australians (n=1,000) conducted by Savvy has shown that almost two in five renters (59.2% of 392 renters) are spending over 31% of their weekly income on rent.

  • 58.9% of renters say they feel their rent is overpriced
  • 64.7% of women say they feel their rent is overpriced, compared with 52.9% of men
  • 9% of renters spending 61% or more of their income on rent33.9% say they feel their rent is “fair”
Savvy Rental Stress 2023 Infographic

30% spend between 31%-45% of their income on rent; 20% of spend between 46%-60% of their weekly income on rent. 9.2% of renters say they are spending over 61% of their weekly income on rent.

Women are also disproportionately spending more on rent; only 3.8% of men are spending between 61%-75% of their income on rent, compared with 8.3% of women. There is also disparity in the 46%-60% band (17% of men vs 24% of women.)

This is potentially alarming, as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare define households or individuals are under rental stress if they are spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

Compared with numbers from 2022, higher proportions of people are spending far more on rent, with 5.9% saying they spend between 61%-75% of their weekly income on rent, up from 4.3% in 2022.

3.2% say that they are spending over 76% of their weekly income on rent, up from 0.43% in our last survey.

If you rent, how do you feel about the amount of rent you are paying?TotalMale Female Other
Total Respondents3922021873
It is overpriced (I pay too much)231 (58.9%)107 (53%)121 (64.7%)3 (100%)
It feels like a fair price133 (33.9%)76 (37.6%)57 (30.5%)-
It feels like a bargain! (It is cheaper than expected)28 (7.14%)19 (9.4%)9 (4.8%)-
If you currently rent, what portion of your weekly income goes to rent?TotalMaleFemaleOther
Total Respondents4022061929
Up to 15%30 (7.5%)19 (9.2%)11 (5.7%)-
16% to 30%131 (32.6%)75 (36.4%)54 (28.1%)2 (22%)
31% to 45%121 (30.1%)62 (30.1%)59 (30.7%)-
46% to 60%83 (20.7%)35 (17%)46 (24%)-
61% to 75%24 (6%)8 (3.9%)16 (8.3%)-
76% and over13 (3.2%)7 (3.4%)6 (3.1%)-

Three in five say rent “overpriced”

58.9% of renters said that they feel their rents are “overpriced,” broken down into 64.7% of women and 52.9% of men.

33.9% say that their rent is “fair” while a mere 7% say their rent is a “bargain.”

The average median rent in Greater Sydney is $470 while the median weekly household income is $2,077 according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which was taken in 2021.

This data was taken when inflation was tracking at RBA-standard levels and interest rates were at record lows of 0.1%p.a. The cash rate is now at 3.6%p.a., and inflation is at 7.8% (Dec Quarter 2022, CPI.)

David Webb, Head of Industry Revenue and Partnerships at Homely;

“There is a direct correlation between rising rents and higher interest rates. Higher rates have played a significant role in pushing rental prices to new heights over the last few years. While there are certainly landlords who have excessively increased rents leaving many renters feeling trapped due to the lack of alternatives, I’ve found the majority of landlords have actually been forced to either raise their rents or sell their investment properties."

“The sale of investment properties is significantly contributing to the increase in rental prices. This is because tenants then need to compete for the same housing, exacerbating the pressure from the increased demand. As investors exit the market, the demand continues to soar. And these statistics are alarming: over 58% of people feel their rent is overpriced, which suggests two things: either agents and landlords are not effectively communicating market trends, or renters may not be conducting thorough research on current rental costs in their desired areas.”

Savvy, Rental Stress Survey, 2023 (n=1000)

Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Completion date: 2/09/2023

Age groups:18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+

Gender breakdown: male n=506, female n=495, non-binary /prefer not to say n=4

Representative of state and territory populations:

NSW n=326 (32.3%), Vic n=253 (25.1%), Qld n=200 (20.2%), SA n=73 (7.2%), WA n=108 (10.6%) NT n=9 (0.7%), Tas n=23 (2.2%), ACT n=18 (1.7%)

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