Vacancy rates remain “excessively tight”

Residential vacancy rates remain “excessively tight” across most capitals at a national average of 1.7 per cent for March, with Perth continuing to be the hardest major city in which to find a vacant rental property, according to new data.

“Perth is now an area of major concern with vacancies now sitting at an incredibly low 0.5 per cent,” Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research, said.

SQM Research said Australia’s rental market remained “excessively tight for the time being, with no capital cities recording considerable increases month-on-month or recording a vacancy rate of three per cent or higher.”

“With the housing market itself remaining sluggish, it is likely that more and more individuals are choosing the rental market over deciding to purchase property at this time,” the company said.

“This continued negative sentiment when it comes to real estate is assumedly putting increased pressure on the nation’s vacancies.”

SQM said its 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. Only those properties with unique addresses or a unique listing id are used. Those advertisements with no addresses are excluded from the series. Any addresses repeated between sites are de-duped.

Sydney’s vacanacy rate touched 1.5 per cent in March (no change from February); Melbourne was at 2.9 per cent (3.0 per cent in February); Brisbane 1.5 per cent (down from 1.6 per cent); Adelaide 1.4 per cent (up 0.1 per cent on-month); Canberra 0.8 per cent (up from 0.7 per cent); Hobart 2.4 per cent (up from 2.3 per cent); and Darwin was down to 0.6 per cent (dropping 0.1 per cent).

Mr Christopher said Hobart was the one city where the vacancy rate appeared to be easing.

“Hobart on the other hand is beginning to show signs of the opposite extreme, with vacancies doubling since this time last year and many localities recording vacancy rates above four per cent,” he said.

“We are also seeing rising stock levels in this area, which in contrast to other capital cities which seem to suffer from one or the other, reveals that Hobart is being hit with an oversupply issue from both sides.”


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