Ballooning overseas student numbers are behind skyrocketing rental increases of up to $1000 in a year and adding to the scarcity of housing stock, a think tank has claimed.
According to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), the federal government's move to cash in on the $40 billion international student industry has led to a hike in average rental prices.
In the past financial year, rents increased by 4.4 per cent on average – the equivalent of about $24 per week.
IPA analysis showed demand pressures from the international student intake accounted for about 80 per cent of the increase to rents, on average, across Australia.
In the absence of international students, the research suggested, rents would have increased by only 0.88 per cent.
"Australians already facing a cost-of-living crisis are set to suffer further as the federal government's unplanned, record increase in the international student intake drives rents even higher making housing less affordable," Daniel Wild, deputy executive director of the IPA, said.
"While universities do provide some accommodation for students, the majority of students are in the private rental market, which is driving up costs for Australians.
"Universities must do significantly more to house those they entice here."
In July, IPA research found the rise in net international student arrivals was the largest on record.
"Australia's intake of international students is well above comparable countries, and on a per capita basis, it is well over double the United Kingdom and approximately eight times that of the United States," Wild said.
"While international students may provide benefits to the bottom line of universities, the question needs to be asked as to how this is improving the experience of Australian students and the wider community."