Apartment vacancies easing

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INNER city apartment vacancies in Sydney and Melbourne remain elevated but have continued their decline in the latter stages of 2020.

New data from SQM Research shows CBD vacancy rate in Sydney had come down to 9.5% in November, having spiked at 16.2% in May, while Melbourne’s has firmed from 10.8% in September to 9.1%.

There are 2,030 units sitting empty in inner Melbourne, and 705 in Sydney.

The national residential rental vacancy rate remained stable at 2.1% over the month, just below the 2.2% seen 12 months earlier.

Vacancies were stable across most capital cities, except for Sydney which saw a minor decrease to 3.5%, and Brisbane came in to 1.8%.

Melbourne’s total vacancy remained at 4.4% in November and is the highest in the nation and is double the rate of the same time last year. Hobart’s vacancy rate remains the lowest, at 0.6%.

“Rents for units in our two largest cities are still falling, though I note there appears to be a commencement of a reversal in the abundance of listings in the CBD’s of these two cities,” Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research said.

“They are still very elevated. But we could be starting to see some of the population moving back to the CBD and inner city locations.”

Most capitals recorded increases in both house and unit asking rents. Darwin led increases with 6.7% for houses and 4.3% in units, followed closely by Hobart with 6.4% and 3.3% respectively.

Sydney recorded a softer rental increase of 0.9% in houses but a decline in unit rents of 0.6%, while Canberra also recorded an increase in house rents (3.5%) and a fall in unit rents (1.2%).

Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth house and unit rent, while Melbourne saw declines in both sectors of 0.1% and 1.4% respectively.

Annual data shows Sydney has recorded a 6.7% decline in houses and 9.6% decline in units over 12 months, and Melbourne has seen falls of 4.1% and 6.7%.

At the other of the scale, Darwin’s saw sizable 21.2% growth, and Perth house rents increased by 10.5% and units 9.5%.

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