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Pools and a WFH space are hot property

  • Houses featuring a pool and big backyard with space to work at home in hot demand.
  • A total of 57,558 residential rental properties were vacant Australia-wide over November.
  • In December the average capital city asking rents for houses rose +2.4% to A$603 per week.

Rental houses featuring a pool and a big backyard with space to work from home (WFH) are hot property, despite the premiums being paid in a high-cost rental market.

And while below-ground pool installation prices almost doubled from 2019 to 2021, as reported by Grafa last year, there’s a growing number of people adding them to their homes.

According to Domain, the word ‘pool’ has been the most searched term on its listings in October across all capital cities. As most of Australia grapples with lockdowns and surging COVID-19 cases, people have been flocking towards larger homes with expansive yards and space to WFH as the pandemic sparks a lifestyle shift towards home comforts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced up to 40% of workers and many companies to experiment with WFH options, which is also driving this trend as people seek their creature comforts, a Productivity Commission report found.

According to SQM Research, in December, the average capital city asking rents for houses increased some 2.4% to A$603 per week. Across the capitals Canberra weekly rents for houses averaged A$735, with Sydney (A$734 p/w), Darwin (A$640), Brisbane (A$544), Adelaide (A$465), Hobart (A$495), Melbourne (A$528) and Perth (A$554).

WA’s chronic housing crisis forced up rents almost 66% in some parts of Perth in 2021, with the situation poised to worsen when the borders reopen next month. The Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) forecasts rents will rise by 10-15% this year, on the median rent each week.

With the total number of rental vacancies Australia-wide now standing at 57,558 residential properties, it seems renters are still being selective about what features their house will have to enjoy such comforts.

While there has also been soaring costs associated with backyard pool installations, which doubled in some cases during 2021, people are increasingly adding them to their homes. Western Australia, as a case in point, has seen a 78% increase in the number of pools installed since 2019.

Around the country the number of pool installations jumped 20% from 21,500 pre-pandemic in 2019 to an estimated 25,875 in 2021, as reported by Grafa.

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