Melbourne rental vacancies remain high given international student absence: SQM

Melbourne also posted a 12% drop in asking unit asking rents over the year to March 2021

Melbourne rental vacancies remain high given international student absence: SQM
Melbourne rental vacancies remain high given international student absence: SQM

Vacancies have remained high in Melbourne, according to SQM Research's national residential rental vacancy report for February.

"Melbourne remains weighed down by underwhelming demand for rental accommodation," said Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research.

Melbourne’s vacancy rate rose from 4.4% to 4.5%

It was down from the 4.7% last December, which was the highest level since SQM Research started measuring data in 2005. 

Melbourne’s vacancy rate ranks as the highest for a capital city in the nation, with the withdrawal of international student tenants hitting the city hard, Christopher noted.

Melbourne rental vacancies remain high given international student absence: SQM

The inner Melbourne CBD vacancy rate stands at 7.5%, down from 9.4% last October.

Sydney’s overall vacancy rate rose 0.1% to 3.3%. 

The Sydney CBD vacancy rate dropped to 6.3% in February 2021, down from a high of 14.8% in May 2020, indicating a return to life for Sydney city. 

Elsewhere, in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart, the vacancy rate was below 1%.

Brisbane’s vacancy rate also remained tight, down to 1.5% in February from January 2021.

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.

"The figures for Melbourne and Sydney would be disappointing for existing property investors," Christopher said.

"Normally, vacancy rates in these two cities fall over February, in part due to international students starting their semesters.

"But given the ongoing closure of the international border, the seasonal increase in rental demand has not occurred this year. 

"This year will favour tenants in the inner cities but will also very much remain a landlord’s market in regional Australia.

“Elsewhere, we are still recording strong interest from tenants in larger properties in outer suburban locations as well as wider regional Australia. 

'investment property owners in Darwin or Perth have also enjoyed a strong year of rental returns.”

Over the month to 12 March 2021, capital city average asking rents fell 0.4% for houses to $550 per week and 0.2% for units to $412. 

Reflecting accommodation oversupply, Melbourne and Sydney unit asking rents fell by 1.4% and 0.4%, respectively over the past month.

House rents also fell in Sydney by 1.2% while Melbourne house asking rents were flat. 

Recently listed VIC properties:

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Sqm Research Residential Vacancies

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