National residential vacancy rate lifts to 2.1% in May: SQM

The number of residential property rental vacancies increased again during the month of May, rising by 0.1 percentage points to 2.1% and coming to a total of 59,670 nationwide, the latest SQM Research figures show.

It was the fourth straight month that the vacancy rate has eased, according to SQM Research calculations.

The majority of capital cities either experienced modest rises, or remained the same during May, with Darwin being the only city to experience a decline – falling from 1.1% to 1.0% month on month.

Melbourne has the highest vacancy rate - 2.7% - of all the major capital cities, but was unchanged over May with 11,806 vacancies. 

Perth has the tightest vacancy rate of the major capital cities, though it eased slightly from 1.2% to 1.3%.

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Given that a vacancy rate of 3% indicates a balanced market between landlords and renters, Perth remains in a severe rental crisis.

Looking nationally, SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said the May result "reflects a rental market that is continuing to loosen, albeit gradually".

"However, SQM Research stands by our original prediction that until there is a mass exodus of renters prompted by absorption of stock from the sales side of the property market, we will not see massive increases in vacancy rates," he says.

Christopher says the rental market is starting to provide "some choices for tenants".

"Vacancies have increased four straight months now. This is also showing up on our weekly rentals index where cities such as Canberra and Perth have recorded falling rents in recent months," he says.

Other key findings of the May report:

  • Darwin has recorded the tightest vacancy rate of the capital cities, revealing a vacancy rate of 1.0% and a total of 237 vacancies.
  • Canberra has recorded the highest yearly increase in vacancies. Climbing 0.8% to 1.5% since the corresponding period of the previous year (May 2012) and coming to a total of 798 vacancies.
  • Hobart was the only capital city to record a yearly decrease in vacancies, falling by 0.1% to 2.7% since the corresponding period of the previous year (May 2012) and coming to a total of 739.
  • Hobart has however, recorded the highest monthly increase in vacancies, rising by 0.2% during May 2013.
  • Darwin was the only capital city to record a monthly decrease, falling by 0.1% to 1.0% during May 2013.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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