Rental crisis easing as national residential vacancy rate rises to 2%: SQM

The national residential vacancy rate lifted from 1.9% to 2% in April with all capital cities except for Darwin recording a rise in their vacancy rates, the latest SQM Research figures show. 

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher says this is the first time that national vacancies have reached the 2% mark excluding seasonal months (December) since September 2009, “suggesting that the rental crisis is truly beginning to ease”. 

“While the rental market is unlikely to blow out to an oversupply situation in this cycle, we do believe an easing of what has been an extended period of tight conditions for tenants, will now come into existence. 

“It means rent rises which have been running at above inflation for the past five years now, will now slowdown to be more in line with CPI and indeed this is already occurring according to our newly released weekly rents index," he says. 

SQM Research records there were 56,973 properties available for rent across the eight capital cities in April compared with 52,931 in March and 50,884 in April last year. 

The vacancy rate lifted by 0.2 percentage points in Sydney from 1.5% to 1.7% with 9,631 rental properties available over April while Melbourne remains the most favourable capital city market for tenants with its vacancy rate rising from 2.6% to 2.7% with 11,609 properties for rent.

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Key points:

  • Darwin has recorded the tightest vacancy rate of the capital cities, revealing a vacancy rate of 1.1% and a total of 272 vacancies.
  • Canberra has recorded the highest yearly increase in vacancies. Climbing 0.7% to 1.5% since the corresponding period of the previous year (April 2012) and coming to a total of 753 vacancies.
  • Hobart has recorded the largest yearly decrease in vacancies, falling by 0.3% to 2.5% since the corresponding period of the previous year (April 2012) and coming to a total of 699 vacancies.
  • Hobart has however, recorded the highest monthly increase in vacancies, rising by 0.5% during April 2013.

SQM’s calculations of vacancies are based on online rental listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more compared to the total number of established rental properties. 

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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