Mixed results in the latest data show that the vacancy rate in Melbourne has dropped to levels not seen since May 2011, while rents in Perth have dropped by 10 per cent.
According to SQM Research’s February data, Melbourne’s vacancy rate dropped 0.5 percentage points during February to reveal a vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent.
All areas of the Victorian capital recorded a reduction in vacancies. However, managing director of SQM Research Louis Christopher warned that CBD vacancies were still volatile.
“It has been some time since we recorded a definitive decline in vacancies in what could be a sign that the excess stock seen in Melbourne is starting to be occupied,” he said.
Nationally, residential vacancies decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 2.1 per cent.
Year on year, vacancies have still risen by 0.3 percentage points, with the country experiencing a substantially looser rental market than this time last year.
SQM Research’s Asking Rents Index revealed that asking prices for rental properties continued to record mixed stories during February, with the capital city average revealing a 0.7 per cent decrease in asking rents for houses and a 1.2 per cent increase in asking rents for units since February 2013.
Sydney was the outperformer of the capital cities over the year, with a 2.3 per cent increase in asking rents for houses and a 3.6 per cent increase in asking rents for units on a yearly basis.
However, Canberra and Perth recorded the steep declines, with Canberra revealing a 7.6 per cent decrease in asking rents for houses and a 5.5 per cent decrease in asking rents for units.
Perth recorded a 10.7 per cent decrease in asking rents for houses and a 7.4 per cent decrease in asking rents for units since February 2013.
Mr Christopher attributed the fall of Perth rents to the downturn of the mining sector.
“Overall rental conditions continued to modestly favour landlords over the course of the month, with some interesting results coming out of Melbourne and Perth," he said.
“Meanwhile, the sharp falls in rents for Perth are in line with rising vacancies being recorded there and are a manifestation of a rather rapid decline in demand for accommodation.”