The Melbourne suburbs where properties are renting quickest

Renters in Balaclava and Elwood face the tightest competition to find a home, with properties sitting on the market for the fewest days in the city on average, new data shows.

Both suburbs had an average of about 19.6 days on the market, closely followed by Preston, Craigieburn, Collingwood and Ringwood with averages between 20 and 20.2 days on the market, from the start of the year to the end of April.

The longest average wait was 34.6 days in Brighton East, leaving a gap of just 15 days.

Domain research analyst Eliza Owen said this was the shortest in the country, and that renting in Melbourne was still a tough ask for tenants.

“I think the rental time on market for suburbs across Melbourne is relatively low. It’s a very tight rental market compared to the Sydney market,” she said. “As of 2019, there were seven suburbs where properties were rented within 20 days or fewer, about 45 per cent were leasing within 25 days.

“That’s also reinforced by rental vacancy rates, where the rate is lower than Sydney as well.”

Suburb Average days on market
Balaclava 19.62
Elwood 19.686
Preston 20.046
Craigieburn 20.108
Collingwood 20.219
Ringwood 20.239
Westmeadows 20.303
Abbotsford 20.753
Glen Huntly 20.775
Coburg 20.813
Source: Domain. Measured from the year to April 30. 

Ms Owen said Balaclava and Elwood were popular because they were close to St Kilda, which had an average of 21.1 days on the market.

“These areas are pretty popular with young people who tend to be in the renting stage in their life. Also university students and visitors to the city,” she said. “It makes sense rental properties would be transacting faster there.”

Balaclava landlord Tim Barber said renting out property in the area was a dream. Not only did he lease his old family home within three days, but he got his pick of tenants too. He had four applications after the first open home.

“What it does do is give us good flexibility all ’round. We’re comfortable we have good tenants,” he said. “And it lets us have an investment in a great suburb that still has more growth in it, but it might be something we move back into in the future as well.”

Tim Barber
Mr Barber said he was happy to be leasing his old family home in a sought-after suburb. Photo: Leigh Henningham

Mr Barber leased his house through McGrath St Kilda, and principal Michael Townsend said since January the area had been running hot.

“It’s been really good. It’s been running counterbalanced to the selling side of things,” he said. “But not quite back to 2015 when people were queuing out the front, and you’d have 12 applications on each property.”

Affordable areas like Craigieburn, Ringwood and Westmeadows all had short times on the market too, with Ringwood making a big jump from the same period in 2017. It went from 30 days on the market to 22.2 last year and 20.2 this year.

“Ringwood is an area where the average time on market for rentals has tightened pretty quickly from 20 days from about 30 days over the space of about two years,” Ms Owen said. “It’s significant relative to other suburbs. The average change in days on the market was low.”

Suburb Average days on market
Brighton East 34.6
Safety Beach 33.2
Rye 31.9
Albion 31.8
Mont Albert 31.8
Moorabbin 31.8
Patterson Lakes 31.6
Canterbury 31.4
Mont Albert North 31.3
Donvale 31.3
Source: Domain. Measured from the year to April 30. 

Ray White Ringwood director Chris Watson said the suburb had undergone some substantial changes in recent years.

“There’s been some really big infrastructure changes recently, like the train station. There’s better ease of access into the city, as well as the Eastland shopping centre.

“There’s Ringwood square that has a lot of inner-city eateries which certainly appeals to the stereotypical rental market.”

Mr Watson did say a few apartment blocks had opened at the same time, leading to a more recent glut of units coming onto the market. But he said it was out of character for the area.

Ms Owen agreed: “It’s stayed steady over the past couple of years due to high demand.”