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Vacancy rates hold steady as seasonal occupancy effect is felt

15 March 2019 Tim Neary

The national residential vacancy rate remained steady at 2.2 per cent in February, with the total number of vacancies Australia-wide now at 72,333, new data has revealed.

Data released by SQM Research shows that Adelaide is the only capital city to increase its vacancy rate in February, to 1.2 per cent from 1.1 per cent in January, resulting in 2,197 properties available for rent in February 2019.

Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart experienced marginal decreases in February, each by 0.1 of a percentage point. Melbourne decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point over the month to 1.7 per cent.

The data also found that both Sydney and Perth’s vacancy rates have remained steady, at 3.2 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively.


Hobart still remains the lowest of all capital cities, at 0.4 of a percentage point, for February 2019. 

Darwin is the highest of all capital cities, at 3.7 per cent, followed by Sydney, at 3.2 per cent.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said the results are largely predictable.

“The steady vacancies in February are largely due to a seasonal effect as students and workers moved to new rental homes for the beginning of the year,” he said.

“Going forward, our expectation is vacancy rates will rise in 2019, driven by some 200,000 dwellings expected to be completed this year which is well above our estimate of underling demand of approximately 170,000 dwellings. Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra will likely see the bulk of the rises in vacancies.”


The data found that capital city asking rents declined 0.2 of a percentage point for both houses and units over the month, to $559 per week for houses and $441 per week for units.

Similarly, over the 12 months, asking rents for both houses and units also declined by 0.2 of a percentage point.

Adelaide and Hobart recorded increases in weekly rents over the month for both houses and units. Hobart houses recorded the highest weekly rental increase, of 4.5 per cent, and 1.8 per cent for units.

Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Darwin recorded marginal decreases in both house and unit asking rents over the month.

Vacancy rates hold steady as seasonal occupancy effect is felt
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