The South West has had the sixth highest rental increase in regional Australia as Perth deals with the lowest rental vacancies in the nation. New data from Everybody’s Home reveals the top 10 regional areas that have been smashed by a spike in rental increases in the past year. Rents in the South West have gone up 17. 3 per cent, averaging to a 12-month increase of $83. This comes as the PropTrack market insight report showed Perth has the lowest rental vacant rate in the nation at just 0.76 per cent. Real estate agent Leanne Garner from Professionals Bunbury said home opens were flooded with people, with dozens trying at every house to apply for a place to live. She said the amount of competition for rentals had resulted in seeing the same faces at every home open. “It’s been the same people coming in here for months ... we all know each other by name now,” she said. “This is my everyday now, it’s just so tough for everyone.” Sharona Smith is looking for rentals in Bunbury as there are no available places near her work in Collie, leaving her with a daily commute of almost 100km. “My house is being sold out from underneath me because my landlord is moving his mother in, because she can’t afford rent,” Ms Smith said. “I would like to find something that I can afford without putting myself broke, but that’s becoming harder and harder.” Karina McLeod from Bunbury, who is due to give birth soon, is desperately trying to find a place to live before her due date. “I’m going to about seven houses a week,” Ms McLeod said. She is nervous she won’t be able to afford enough space for her growing family. “The prices have just gone up so much, we can’t even afford the smallest units now,” she said. “I would love to see more government funding for houses, especially low-income owners.” Everybody’s Home spokesperson Maiy Azize said building more social housing would be the key to easing the housing crisis. “Right across regional Australia we’re seeing rents rise every year and more and more people become trapped in housing stress and homelessness,” she said. “Long-time locals are being driven out of their communities, essential workers are struggling to find a place to live. “An extra 227,000 social homes need to be built in regional Australia just to meet the demand of today. “That need for housing is expected to grow within the next 20 years.” Three other WA areas were listed in the top five in the Everybody’s Home report. The Goldfields was in second place, with the central coastal area of WA third, and northern WA fourth.