Renters, the news isn't great. But it isn't terrible, either. For the first time in a long time, pressure on the rental market has eased, with vacancy rates on the rise and rents growing at a slower pace than normal. It has delivered some much needed - albeit still only minor and short-term - relief for the one-quarter of the city's population in the private rental market.
The median rent in Melbourne rose 4.9 per cent to $350 a week in the year to the December quarter 2010, according to the Office of Housing.
That's about the same as in 2009 but less than half the increase seen in 2008 (10.9 per cent) and 1 percentage point lower than the 10-year average of 5.9 per cent.
Office of Housing figures are based on bond records compiled by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority, which means they are the most accurate available. But there is significant lag in the publication of the data.
What has happened with rents in 2011 is a little harder to gauge - with different analyst groups producing different results - but the news is by no means as bad as it could be.
Residex estimates the weekly rent for a house rose 1.3 per cent in the March quarter. Unit rents rose 2.9 per cent.
In comparison, Australian Property Monitors* reports that house rents actually fell 1.4 per cent over that time.
Whatever the actual state of affairs, it's clear Melbourne's rental market isn't quite as tough a place at it was a couple of years ago when rents were achieving double-digit growth and tales were commonly heard of ''rental auctions'' and properties receiving dozens of applications.
Source: The Age Domain