The median cost of weekly rent in some regional areas around the country has blown out by more than 20 per cent in the past year.
In the 12 months to February this year, Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria recorded the biggest jump, with median weekly rent prices rising 23.5 per cent to $443 a week.
Meanwhile, across the ACT, a 9.7 per cent increase has brought the median weekly rent to $733.
In Victoria, Greater Bendigo has experienced a 11.9 per cent jump, leading to a median weekly rent of $437.
Launceston in Tasmania is also feeling the pinch of a 14.9 per cent increase up to $479 median rent per week.
"Historically, we've always had very low house prices and rents here in Tasmania, and it used to be one of our advantages over the mainland states," said Adrienne Picone, CEO of Tasmania Council Social Services.
"We used to be able to justify our relatively low incomes by the fact, but also our cost of living was lower and our houses were lower prices. But this is no longer the case."
"Things have really changed dramatically over the last sort of two or three years. What we're seeing is that Tasmania is still earn less than mainlanders, but our house prices have gone right up," Ms Picone said.
"So in the past year what we know is that Tasmanian wages have increased by $33 or about 2.3 per cent, but the median weekly rent prices has increased by $57 or 12.8 per cent, so there's a real gap there and a real divide."
Property experts and analysts are blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for the sudden demand for private and rental housing options.
As populations looked to move away from densely populated cities, aided by the growth in work-from-home options, demand for houses in regional areas grew, increasing the competition for homes.
According to Leo Patterson Ross, CEO of the NSW Tenants Union, the housing gap that had previously affected only Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other capital city areas, quickly became a reality across much of regional Australia.
"It was a problem in Sydney but we will see it more and more in the regional areas as well," Mr Patterson said.
"Essentially people keep having to compromise either on location or on quality of their homes and it's the people with the lowest incomes that get hit first."
Infrastructure Australia identified housing as an issue directly affecting 26 regional areas, in a report released earlier in March.
The only other issue affecting nearly as many areas was broadband and mobile connectivity, which was identified as a problem 23 locations.
Similarly, CoreLogic assessed the median weekly rental value across 12 locations in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and ACT.
It found Orange, NSW to be one of the fastest growing housing markets in NSW, which is driving up weekly rental prices astronomically.
In February 2020, median weekly rent in Orange sat at $421. By February 2022, that median had risen to $525, which represents a 13.5 per cent increase.
If the median price for a three bedroom in Orange rises from its current value of $475 up to $500, it will be the first time ever that the median price for a three bedroom rental has hit $500 in an inland city.
"What the Real Estate Institute is saying to council is it's no longer a housing issue, it's now a social and human issue," said Shayna Chapman, secretary of the Orana division of Real Estate Institute Australia.