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End to rental crisis not within sight: REINSW

By Kyle Robbins
16 January 2023 | 11 minute read
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The leading real estate body in Australia’s most populated state has warned a recent easing in vacancy rates across NSW does not spell the end of its rental crisis.

Despite the institute’s Vacancy Rate Survey results for December 2022 revealing Sydney’s vacancy rate climbed 0.2 per cent to finish the year at 1.8 per cent, Tim McKibbin, chief executive officer of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), has warned this change doesn’t signal the end of the state’s rental crisis.

“What we’re seeing is a seasonal fluctuation, as students vacate for the festive period and families make decisions about where they want to live in the new year,” he explained.

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“It happens every year, and this month’s survey results reflect this fact.”

The state capital’s outer ring reported a vacancy rate of 2.5 per cent to finish the year, with more rental properties available than any month since June (2.9 per cent), while the city’s middle ring’s 1 per cent vacancy rate represented its tightest month for the year.

Even though last month’s results indicated a rise in the number of vacant properties, Mr McKibbin said the state is still “experiencing historical lows in the availability of rental accommodation, and there is a rental crisis”. 

Vacancies have risen right throughout the state. The popular Hunter region in the state’s north saw rates jump 0.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent, their highest position for the calendar year. Meanwhile, the Illawarra region concluded 2022 with a vacancy rate of 1.6 per cent courtesy of a 0.5 per cent rise, the third-highest rate recorded for the year after September’s 2.4 per cent and October’s 1.8 per cent.

“The latest Vacancy Rate Survey shows that most regional areas have experienced an easing in rental availability, but again this is surely a seasonal fluctuation,” he said. 

New England, in the state’s north, holds the top spot as the tightest regional rental market, with a vacancy rate of 0.5 per cent, while the state’s Orana’s 3.1 per cent vacancy rate was the highest throughout the state.

Mr McKibbin identified three certainties presently within the state’s rental market, “the availability of stock in the rental market is at an all-time low, weekly rents are rising, and tenants are faced with ever-increasing living costs”.

“None of these things is showing any signs of getting better; in fact, they’re getting worse.

“Something has to change,” he concluded.

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