Illawarra tenants preparing to sign a new lease could have grounds to ask for a break in their weekly rent.
"If you're negotiating your rent at the moment, you've got a good argument for your rent not to be raised at all, because of what the market is doing in the Illawarra overall," Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said.
"Most indicators suggest rents won't be rising much in the near future."
The Domain Rent Report for the September 2019 quarter, released on Thursday, includes figures for the three Illawarra local government areas.
The median asking rent for houses in Wollongong is $490 (same as 12 months prior). The Shellharbour median is $480 (also the same as 12 months prior) and Kiama is $525 (down by 0.5 per cent).
As for units, the median asking rent in Wollongong is $375 (down by 1.3 per cent from 12 months ago), Shellharbour is $405 (last year's figures were unavailable) and Kiama is $480 (up by 9.1 per cent from last year).
Mr Wiltshire said the Kiama unit figures could potentially be a little "volatile" due to lesser numbers of units in the LGA, but the LGA's market overall was consistent with the rest of the region throughout 2019.
"It's been pretty steady through most of 2019," he said. "It was just a big jump compared to September last year," he said of the Kiama unit figures.
"It's jumped up (since then), but it's been about $480-$490 per week for all of 2019."
Mr Wiltshire said overall, these figures were positive news for renters.
He said it was clear there had been a softening of the region's rental market, with rents largely flat across the three LGAs.
"That's pretty much in line with what's going on in Sydney and Melbourne as well," he told the Mercury. "So that seems to be a trend that things have calmed down a bit."
Mr Wiltshire said asking rents for houses have jumped by 17 per cent across the three LGAs over the past five years.
"That's pretty fast growth and is tough for renters, but zero (increase) over the past year means it has really levelled off quite a bit."
Mr Wiltshire said Sydney's rental market had been soft for the past year or so, and there were signs it could be nearing its bottom there.
"Potentially that could flow to the Illawarra, but it's a bit of an unknown," he said.