Canberra, ACT – Australian Financial Review – “It’s the capital of the world,” says Leonid Karas.
“I can walk to my office in downtown Canberra, and I can walk out and it’s the same price.
I’m used to that.”
Karas, a 37-year-old IT professional, rents a one-bedroom apartment in the city’s CBD.
He pays around $1,500 a month.
But for the past two years, the price of his two-bedroom unit has jumped to almost $4,000 a month, a figure that would mean renting out his office in a business park, which he considers a waste of money.
Karis has been renting for around four years.
Since the city is experiencing its hottest month in two decades, the rental market has soared to more than $4.5 million, the highest it’s been in a decade.
At the same time, Karas says rents in his neighbourhood are soaring at a much slower rate, with the average price in the CBD now more than double the average rent in Canberra, at $1.75 a square metre.
The price of a two-bedroom apartment in Canberra’s CBD has tripled in two years.
Photo: Supplied “We have a huge number of people living in our area, and there are lots of vacancies,” Karas said.
Renters say the rise in prices has driven them to leave the capital city, with Sydney and Melbourne having the biggest rises.
Melbourne is now the third most expensive city in the country after Sydney and Sydney-based Melbourne, which saw a 12 per cent increase in prices between last year and this year.
In Sydney, the average apartment price in May 2017 was $1 million.
As of May, Sydney had the second most expensive average apartment in Australia, at about $2.9 million, while Melbourne’s was $2 million.
The cheapest average rental was in Sydney at $3.2 million, with Melbourne at about twice that.
However, with a median rent of $1 a square foot in Canberra now more expensive than in Sydney, many renters are turning to other cities.
Anaheim, Sydney and Canberra have the most expensive median rents in Australia.
Photo by James Anstey “There are some good places in Sydney and I’ve got a good apartment there,” Karis said.
“But if I want to live in Melbourne or Melbourne-based I have to be careful about that.”
Karas’ apartment is one of many that he rents out.
Many of his renters are also finding they have to use a credit card to rent out their units.
It costs around $2,000 to rent a one bedroom apartment, while Karas estimates he pays around half of that price for his rent.
This week, Karis told the ABC he had been using his debit card to pay for rent in the past few weeks.
While Karas’ rents are soaring, many others are struggling to pay their bills.
Amber, a 36-year old IT professional who works in Sydney’s CBD, has been paying about $1 per week for a one room apartment, which she said is a “fucking waste of time”.
“When you have people who don’t want to pay rent, they’ll get a flat,” Amber said.
“But the cost of renting, even a one night flat, is really expensive.”
According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 60 per cent of households in Canberra were in a debt-to-income ratio of more than 200.
Despite rising rents, many Australians are struggling with paying for essentials like electricity, groceries and other essential items.
Some people have also taken to using credit cards to pay bills.
In the last year, the amount of time people have spent paying bills has doubled in Canberra and Sydney.
One Canberra apartment is listed for $3,400.
If a rent is due in February, the cost for a new apartment in Sydney will be around $5,000.
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra all saw their average monthly rent increase from last year to $1 in May.
For some, it may be too late.
Even Karas has found it hard to keep his mortgage payments in check.
Over the past year, he has been struggling to keep up with his mortgage repayments.
Karin has also taken on extra debt.
She has a loan of $300,000 for her home and another $250,000 loan for her business, but has not paid off her debts.
After six years, her credit score has dropped from 620 to 700, meaning she is now considered a “prime risk” to the credit rating agencies.
“I’ve had no credit card debt for the last three years and it has