Australia managed to create a rental crisis even with its borders closed to immigrants and backpackers fleeing the country.
A total of 365,900 temporary visa holders left the country between 2019 and 2021 after then-prime minister Scott Morrison told them to leave.
The combination of fewer people in Australia and no-one arriving should have meant a glut of rental properties and though that was true in many inner-city areas in Sydney and Melbourne popular with short-term workers, most of nation went the other way.
This was because Australians increasingly live in smaller households with fewer people choosing to start families and more living in flats.
Renters will have a more difficult time finding a house to live in as the number of temporary visa holders entering the country skyrockets (stock image)
Lockdowns and working from home accelerated this as Australians craved more space at home, away from housemates and family.
The 2016 Census showed the average household size was 2.57 before the RBA released new data last week showing it had fallen to 2.47.
Given unprecedented housing unaffordability pushing the average age of first home buying from 30 to 40, most of these people needed to find a rental.
The national rental vacancy rate fell from 2.1 to 1.3 per cent during the pandemic, and rent prices rose by 14.3 per cent.
The 2016 Census showed the average household size was 2.57 before the RBA released new data last week showing it had fallen to 2.47
Renters will have an even more difficult time finding a house to live in as the number of temporary visa holders entering the country skyrockets.
Some 220,000 temporary visa holders have come into the country since the start of 2022 with applications to be processed.
There is a backlog of 872,000 visa applications yet to be approved by the government and another 2.22 million that have been made since June 1.
A shortage of houses and high demand has already pitted renters against one another as they try to outbid the competition by offering more money to landlords.
On average, rents have soared 10.3 per cent in Australia since the start of 2022 with a low supply of housing and the reopening of borders contributing to the squeeze.
The national rental vacancy rate is at a record low 0.9 per cent, according to Domain research data.
Some 220,000 temporary visa holders have come into the country since the start of 2022 with applications to be processed (stock image)
Grattan Institute economic policy program director Brendan Coates said there would need to be at least another 400,000 homes built to meet up with demand.
The squeeze on availability has driven up rental prices with many residents left unable to afford the prices.
According to research firm PropTrack at the start of 2020 there were 41.8 per cent of advertised rentals on realestate.com.au under $400-a-week across Australia.
That figure dropped to just 19.3 per cent by September 2022.
Capital city rental listings under $400 per week was just 16.4 per cent in September compared to 36.1 per cent in March 2020.
Real estate agents are forcing desperate rental applicants to ‘bid’ on homes to beat their competitors (stock image)
Real estate agents are forcing desperate rental applicants to ‘bid’ on homes to beat their competitors.
‘There is a generally accepted principle of fair market value being the price that willing but not anxious participants in a deal would make,’ Tenants Union of NSW CEO Leo Patterson Ross said.
He said the principle was increasingly being challenged as renters ‘faced with homelessness’ were becoming worried about their ability not only to afford, but even be able to find a home where they want to rent.
Tenants have resorted to making calls to agents to offer extra incentives to get their application to the top of the pile including paying extra rent or paying months in advance.