AHURI conference explores challenges and opportunities for renting in Australia
29 Nov 2022
The AHURI one day conference ‘Renting in Australia: Challenges and Reforms’ explored a range of factors shaping Australia’s private rental market, including Australian renters’ changing concerns throughout the pandemic; the short term dynamism of the private rental market; a laying to rest of fears that rental regulation deters landlords from investing in private rental; and the future of renting in Australia with the rise of a new type of landlord in the form of Build to Rent.
Professor Emma Baker, Director of the Australian Centre for Housing Research at the University of Adelaide, presented recently released AHURI research into the impact of the pandemic on the Australian rental sector, along with new data revealing some startling trends in renter’s experiences, concerns and priorities throughout the pandemic between 2020 and 2022. Key insights included a significant reduction in preferences of Australian renters to stay in rental; increasing delays in landlords acting on requests for repairs; and increasing numbers of renters experiencing difficulties keeping their homes warmed or cooled to comfortable temperatures. A panel discussion explored these shifts and the fundamental issues affecting Australia’s rental market that the data illuminates.
Dr Chris Martin, Senior Research Fellow in the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW, presented new AHURI research Regulation of residential tenancies and impacts on investment, which was released at the conference. This research revealed that, contrary to some predictions, rental regulation has had little impact on private landlords entering or exiting private rental, and investors’ decisions to divest private rental investments are rarely influenced by rental regulation. The research also revealed the high level of short term churn in Australia’s rental market, with a high turnover of both properties and landlords, creating challenges for the renters trying to make secure homes. A panel discussion explored these issues further from the points of view of both property managers and renters.
The final session of the day included a wide-ranging panel discussion exploring the emergence of a new type of landlord in Australia by three institutional investors engaged in Build to Rent projects. The discussion by Dan McClennan, Co-CEO of Local; Sean Hogan, Senior Development Manager at ISPT; and Kris Daff, Managing Director of Assemble, explored the economic and regulatory conditions and cross sector partnerships that can foster the rise of the Build to Rent model, and the opportunities this may offer the Australian rental market. The discussion explored how this type of rental housing can be targeted to cater specifically to the needs of renters on lower incomes, and how the Build to Rent model can perform on energy efficiency and sustainability considerations, and how renters’ experiences of renting may be enhanced by professional landlords offering longer term and affordable rental by design.