We are sometimes asked for comment on the biggest surprises experienced by new arrivals to Australia. Without doubt one of the most common surprises is the perceived high cost of renting property (most new arrivals rent initially). Two factors are relevant in this regard:
- Concentration of population in Sydney and Melbourne (over 40% of the population of Australia) compared with most other countries (For example in the USA less than 4% live in New York and Los Angeles combined; in the UK – approximately 15% live in London and Birmingham). This translates to competition for most sought-after areas (near water, with views, close to the Central Business District) and hence higher costs.
- Also, Australia has a well-educated and skilled workforce, with a high proportion of dual income families. Again, this impacts on demand for property.
Nevertheless, our main cities have experienced rental stability, as shown by the table below:
A factor in this has been the effect on the changes to business visa rules introduced in 2017-2018 by the Federal Government. The impact has been to make it harder for employers to bring their choice of staff to Australia, as well as substantially increasing the cost of doing so. Furthermore, the time taken to get even successful applicants into Australia increased greatly.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the volume of temporary business visas (the sub-class 457 visa and its replacement, the sub-class 482 visa) has reduced sharply. According to the Department of Home Affairs 2017-2018 saw a fall of over 12,000 (approximately 25%) in the number of visa approvals issued by the Government. It is to be hoped that some recovery in numbers will be seen when the Department publishes its 2018-2019 report.