October 2023

Real Estate Round Up #63

This month, the Sydney housing market exhibited a series of trends that collectively reflect an environment of volatility and change. As we navigate the numerous stories that surfaced in the realm of property, a myriad of issues – from property prices to the overarching economic outlook – come to light.

Property Market Trends

The month revealed an intensifying rental crisis, characterized by rising rents and a significant drop in vacancy rates across New South Wales(6). Stories shared the experiences of individuals like Alyce, who experienced a staggering 45% rent hike, leading her to move in with her in-laws(3). Such personal anecdotes, when contextualized against the backdrop of a broad market trend, underscore the challenges faced by renters in the current climate.

Simultaneously, the ongoing discussion about Sydney’s “two-tier property market”(9) raises concerns. While it’s evident that premium properties continue to fetch high prices, properties in other tiers face fluctuations, creating disparity and potential inequalities.

The Sydney housing market has always been an exemplar of dynamic trends. This month’s situation has further solidified its oscillating nature. The rising rents and shrinking vacancies articulate the underlying pressures faced by potential renters and buyers alike. Yet, these trends also allude to Sydney’s unwavering appeal, a city where demand often outstrips supply. The anecdote about Alyce’s 45% rent hike, besides being a testament to the challenging times, reveals an alarming pace of change which could suggest a short-term bubble or a long-term shift, depending on broader economic conditions(3). The conversation around the “two-tier property market” not only showcases a market stratification but also potentially highlights the risk of a widening socioeconomic gap(9).

Rental Prices

The escalating rental prices remain a hot topic. Reports highlight that rents within 20km of city centers, though touted as the “cheapest”, continue to challenge the average Sydneysider’s budget(12). The rental crisis is further exacerbated by the shrinking number of available properties, with vacancy rates dropping across NSW(6). This tightening of the market naturally exerts upward pressure on rental prices, pushing many towards alternative living arrangements, such as sharehouses or moving back with family(1).

Diving deeper into rental prices, the monetary strain on Sydney residents becomes clear. The urban pull ensures that proximity to the city is always in demand, making the inner 20km a hotbed for rental competition(12). The narratives emerging from the city suggest that while rental prices soar, the value proposition isn’t necessarily improving, leading many to rethink traditional living arrangements(1). The question arises, will Sydney experience a demographic shift, with a younger populace potentially migrating to suburbs, or even interstate, in search of more affordable living?

Supply Shortages & Economic Outlook

The construction sector, which plays a pivotal role in dictating housing supply, has shown signs of recovery, with the “construction crisis just about over”, as stated by Ray White Group’s chief economist(4). While this news heralds potential relief regarding supply shortages, the National Skills Agreement emphasizes the critical need to grow the construction workforce to sustain this positive trajectory(10).

Moreover, the untapped potential of granny flats in major capitals offers a viable solution to boost housing supply. CoreLogic’s report suggests that leveraging this underutilized resource could alleviate some of the market’s current pressures(7).

A crucial factor underpinning property market dynamics is the supply mechanism. The rejuvenation of the construction sector is commendable, but sustaining this momentum will require a proactive approach, encompassing not just infrastructure but also skilled manpower(4,10). The synergy between construction trends and the broader economic landscape can’t be overlooked. As economic parameters evolve, so will investment in housing and construction. Hence, the utilization of granny flats as a resource not only emerges as an innovative solution but also underscores the market’s ability to adapt and innovate amidst challenges(7).

Mental Health Implications

It’s imperative to recognize the indirect ramifications of the housing market’s state. ABS data illuminated the rising mental health issues, with increased anxiety and depression linked to housing instability and affordability concerns(2). This interplay between economic conditions and societal well-being stresses the need for holistic solutions that encompass both market stability and individual health.

The interconnection between housing stability and mental health magnifies the multi-dimensional impact of the housing market. As housing becomes less affordable and less accessible, the emotional and psychological toll on individuals is evident(2). The challenge lies not just in addressing the tangible aspects of the housing market but also in acknowledging and addressing its more intangible, yet profound, impacts on well-being. The current mental health trajectory suggests that unless systemic changes are introduced, societal costs may increase, necessitating a broader, more holistic intervention strategy.

Government Actions and Potential Solutions

The government has not remained a passive observer amidst these trends. The Home Buyer Scheme, designed to facilitate transitions to homeownership, signifies a proactive approach to addressing some of the market’s challenges(5,8).

Furthermore, the push towards recognizing the potential of granny flats(7) offers a tangible solution. By fostering an environment conducive to the development and utilization of granny flats, the government can effectively increase housing supply and potentially ease rental prices.

However, while these initiatives are commendable, their long-term efficacy remains to be seen. It’s essential to continuously monitor and adapt these schemes to ensure they meet the evolving needs of the Sydney populace.

While market forces play their role, governmental intervention has become more pivotal than ever. The introduction of the Home Buyer Scheme serves as an exemplar of how policy can directly influence market dynamics(5,8). But, effective governance transcends mere introduction; it lies in adaptation and evolution in response to changing needs. The push for granny flats, while a step in the right direction, brings forth questions about urban planning, sustainability, and infrastructure needs(7). As Sydney navigates these challenges, a balanced, multi-pronged strategy will be essential to ensure both market stability and societal well-being.


In sum, October 2023 has illuminated the multifaceted dynamics of the Sydney housing market. From soaring rental prices to the potential promises of increased construction, the landscape is both challenging and hopeful. As the government and private sectors collaborate, it will be crucial to maintain a balance between market stabilization and the well-being of the city’s residents.

The Sydney housing market’s narrative this month paints a tapestry of challenges and opportunities. While some trends, like escalating rental prices, pose immediate concerns, the market’s inherent dynamism suggests that with strategic interventions and foresight, equilibrium can be achieved. The interplay between economic, social, and governmental factors will dictate the market’s trajectory, necessitating a vigilant, adaptable, and holistic approach moving forward.