This is why Australia has a rental crisis


If you are wondering why Australia is suffering its worst rental crisis in living memory, look no further than today’s official September quarter immigration data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australia’s population surged by 660,000 people in the year to September 2023, driven by a record-high net overseas migration of 549,000:

Australian population change

145,200 net overseas migrants landed in Australia in the September quarter of 2023, the second highest quarterly figure on record behind March 2023:

Quarterly NOM

Net overseas migration as a share of Australia’s population growth remained at a record high of 83% in the September quarter of 2023:

Immigration as a % of population growth

Meanwhile, natural population increase was a historically low 111,000 in the year to September, courtesy of a jump in deaths, most likely related to the baby boomers dying off and the impacts of the pandemic.

Natural population increase

Finally, the next chart shows the explosion in net overseas migration on a historical basis dating back to Federation in 1901:

Historical NOM

Notice how residential rents fell at the beginning of the pandemic when net overseas migration was negative, only to explode when net overseas migration surged?

Quarterly rents

The Albanese government’s extreme immigration program is why Australia has experienced such a severe shortage of accommodation and a rental crisis.

Asking rents

Anyone who denies this fact is a liar.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.