I read with interest this story about the big surge in rental vacancies recently, and how this has lowered the average cost of renting in Perth.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) figures show the number of properties available to rent in Perth is nearly three times above what is considered to be the long-term average.

The oversupply of available rentals is putting downward pressure on prices, with the median rent down to $395 per week for the three quarters to the end of March.

This follows similar but more dramatic shifts elsewhere in Western Australia. Obviously there are many factors involved in market changes like this. So it's hard to accurately and fully explain why it's occurred, and what will happen in future. 

But one thing's for sure: If you're a renter like me you really notice these things. They have a huge impact on your life.

And the current rental outlook is certainly hugely different from when I returned from Sydney to Perth in mid 2010. The competition was fierce, that's for sure. I think this was mainly because the commodities boom was still going strong back then. With all the work on offer and lots of money floating around the state more people were arriving to live in Perth than there are now. Also, there were very few new dwellings being built so almost all the rental properties had tenants. 

I remember having a look at a little unit on the top floor of a Maylands high rise block and there were about thirty other people there for the viewing!

Luckily I managed to snap up a small, cheap place in Yokine. I lived there for about 18 months. It started at $180 per week (bargain!) but had gone up about forty bucks per week by the time I left in early 2012.

I would have stayed there indefinitely but unfortunately a right arsehole moved in below me. He played loud music (with a strong base beat -- that's the thing that gets to you) for hours on end and was a threatening character in some ways. (I might blog about this experience later on because it was certainly very, er, educational.)

Even though I was stressed out I put off the decision to leave for a while because while the competition for units had waned somewhat by that stage it was still quite strong. And if I moved to another apartment block I had no way of knowing what kind of person would be living above, below or next to me. What if I went from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak? 

Anyway I did ultimately bite the bullet and managed to find another cheap little place in Mosman Park -- not the "Paris end", by the way. I saw it advertised in a local paper, not online. So I got in early -- actually I think I might have even been the first one to respond -- and made an application, which was accepted. (I'd recommend this tactic if you are flat or house hunting, BTW. Everyone looks online these days. But not everyone advertises there. So if you use the old fashioned methods like local papers, you can still snap up the odd bargain.) 

It started off at $200 a week. But by the time I left for Sydney in late 2015 it had gone up 40 bucks also. (Obviously, this will always happen. Still, the rise has been far quicker in recent years than when I was living in Perth from 1998-2002. My rent didn't change at all during that whole period as far as I can recall.)

I'm not sure how many people will actually benefit from this recent rental price drop, or how much they'll be saving as a result. But I'm glad there's been some respite, even if it's quite short-lived (which I think will ultimately be the case). The cost of pretty much everything else goes up inexorably all the time as we all know. So we should be thankful for small mercies.