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Vacancy rates fall in most capital cities

By Tim Neary
13 November 2018 | 9 minute read
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The national residential vacancy rate fell to just 2.0 per cent in October 2018, its lowest level since March 2014, according to new data.

Data released by SQM Research shows that the number of vacancies Australia-wide is at 67,350 properties, with falls in some key markets, including Melbourne, and with Sydney holding steady. 

SQM reported that Hobart’s vacancy rate slipped to just 0.3 of a percentage point. Meanwhile, Melbourne fell to 1.6 per cent from 1.7 per cent in September, and now has just 9,320 dwellings available for rent.

It also found that Sydney’s vacancy rate was unchanged at 2.8 per cent, with 19,454 properties available for rent.

Brisbane fell to 2.7 per cent from 2.9 per cent in September and is down from 3.4 per cent a year ago. Perth fell to 3.3 per cent from 3.6 per cent, well down from 4.4 per cent a year ago.

Canberra’s vacancy rate is just 0.6 of a percentage point and is unchanged. Adelaide, too, remained at a low level of 1.1 per cent, while Darwin rose to 3.8 per cent from 3.6 per cent in September.

Managing director Louis Christopher said that there are several factors impacting the results.

“Australia’s national vacancy rate is being driven lower by falling vacancies in many of Australia’s smaller cities,” the MD said.

“In Hobart, there is a severe shortage of rental accommodation, with just 78 properties available to rent, and rents are rising quickly, with no slowdown in sight.

“In Canberra, too, where many renters live, there are just 387 rental properties available, putting upward pressure on rents. Melbourne’s vacancy rate has remained at low levels over the year. In contrast, we are seeing a surplus of rental properties in Sydney and rental costs are falling, a trend we expect to continue into 2019.”


Capital city asking rents for houses rose by 0.2 of a percentage point over the month to $553 a week. Units rose by 0.2 of a percentage point to $438. Rents for houses rose by 0.9 of a percentage point while units slipped by 0.2 of a percentage point.

The asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Sydney has remained the highest nationwide at $712 a week and $512 a week for two-bedroom units, though costs are falling.

Unit rents were down by 0.4 of percentage point in Sydney over the month, while asking house rents fell by 0.2 of a percentage point.

Rents in Melbourne for houses rose by 0.4 of a percentage point over the month to $526 a week, while asking rents for units fell by 0.1 of a percentage point to $406.

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