Residential vacancy rates in most capital cities slipped for the second month in a row in February, with Hobart the only capital recording an increase in available rental properties of 0.2 per cent.
New data from SQM Research shows the national average fell to 1.7 per cent in February, down from 1.8 per cent in January.
Hobart is breaking the trend as vacancies increase, with rates rising from 1.0 per cent to 2.3 per cent over the past 12 months.
Melbourne still has the highest vacancy rate at three per cent, yet also witnessed the biggest monthly drop after falling 0.5 per cent. However, the Victorian capital has been oversupplied for several months. The report reads, “This may come as good news for landlords, with the city’s vacancy rate coming down to three per cent, a figure seen by SQM Research to be at equilibrium.”
Perth vacancies remained steady at a national low of 0.6 per cent. However, listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more, when compared to the total number of established rental properties, dropped by more than a hundred, from 1,084 in January to 973 in February.
However, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), the vacancy rate of Perth was higher, at 1.6 per cent. Yet the REIWA report acknowledged this was the lowest vacancy rate experienced in Perth for more than four years.
“We particularly note conditions in Perth have now swung heavily in favour towards landlords and we are now expecting rents to rise in Perth by at least five per cent for this year,” said Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research.
Perth real estate agencies have been reporting strong demand for rental properties, with one agent in the city's south reporting 82 separate groups of people looking at one property which was renting for $390 a week. The agent who handled the transaction, Phil Davies, sales director at Century 21 Rockingham, told Real Estate Business he now has just four properties available from a rent roll of around 700.
This follows a report from Perth-based real estate group ACTON of a rental property attracting more than 20 interested parties, with the property renting for $20 above its original asking price.
According to SQM Research, Sydney (1.5 per cent), Adelaide (1.3 per cent) and Canberra (0.7 per cent) all dropped by 0.1 per cent on-month, while Darwin (0.7 per cent) and Brisbane (1.6 per cent) both slipped by 0.2 per cent.