Rental vacancies fall to decade low

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NATIONAL residential rental vacancies have fallen again for the month, reaching its lowest rate since March 2011 at just 1.6%.

For the month of August, the total number of vacancies nationally sat at 58,856, dropping from 61,313 in July or 1.7%, with rates either dropping or remaining stable throughout all capital cities, excluding Darwin.

According to SQM research, despite lockdowns, both Sydney and Melbourne recorded respective falls from 2.7% to 2.6% and from 3.6% to 3.5%.

Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin all sat below 1%, at 0.7%, 0.6%, 0.8%, 0.5% and 0.7% respectively, with Darwin climbing from 0.6% in July. While Brisbane’s rate sat stable at 1.3%

“There are strong signs the current lockdowns are creating another wave on interest in regional property. SQM Research has recorded new falls in rental vacancy rates across many of our regions, while at the same time, CBD rental vacancy rates have surged again over August,” said Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research.

Regional areas saw declines over the month, with the Blue Mountains and the NSW North Coast falling to 0.6% and 0.7% respectively.

“While it is true that a number of regional areas have been in lockdown, it has been perceived that the regional lockdowns have not been as harsh or as widespread compared to the city-wide restrictions,” added Christopher.

In the month to 12 September asking rents rose nationally by 1.3% for house to $533 per week, with units rising by 0.2% to $402 per week.

SQM Research attributed this increase to regional areas, which saw greater gains than capital cities, with lockdowns continuing to drive tree and sea changes.

Capital city average rents remained stable over the month to September 12 for houses, sitting at $577.0 per week, a yearly increase of 9.1%. While units rose marginally by 0.2% to $422.0 per week, a 1.9% yearly increase.

In Sydney house rents picked up by 0.5% for the month to $701.5 per week, for a yearly gain of 12.8%, while units dropped by 0.1% to $465.3 per week, a yearly increase of 1.7%.

The reverse was true in Melbourne, with houses declining by 0.2% for the month to $519.3 per week, remaining stable for the year. Units increased by 0.5% to $375.2, though fell by 5.4% for the year.

In Brisbane both houses and units reported increases, with a respective monthly change of 2.1% to $526.5 and 0.2% to $396.1, with houses increasing by 13.4% for the year and units 5.0%.

Perth saw monthly declines for houses at 1.5% to $520.6 and 1.4% to $397.0 for units, while reporting yearly increases of 10.5% and 11.1% respectively.

Adelaide houses saw a 1.0% increase in rents to $452.3, a yearly increase of 9.8%, while units increased by 1.2% to $339.2, a yearly rise of 7.2%.

Canberra house rents fell by 1.6% to $712.2, a yearly gain of 12.7%, while units increased marginally by 0.1% to $512.8, up 8.5% on the year.

In Darwin house rents fell by 0.9% to $608 per week, increasing by 17.7% for the year, while units fell 0.2% to $462.1 per week, up 27.5% for the year.

Finally, Hobart saw house rents increase by 0.3% to $474 for the month and 7.6% for the year, while units increased by 0.5% to $425.0, up 8.4% for the year.

“Going forward, we anticipate that vacancy rates will fall again over the month of September. Weekly listing updates through to the 12th of September suggest a further tightening of conditions and so it is reasonable to expect another surge in rents in most areas except for the CBD locations,” concluded Christopher.

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