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Vacancy rates creeping up in Sydney, some regional NSW areas

By Tim Neary
27 February 2019 | 10 minute read
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The latest REINSW residential vacancy rate report reveals a 0.5 of a percentage point increase in rental vacancies across Sydney, as well as increases in key NSW areas, for the month of January.

In the regions, the report found that the Illawarra region increased by 1.4 per cent and the Hunter region was up by 0.1 of a percentage point.

Overall, Sydney experienced a 3.7 per cent vacancy rate in January, compared with 3.2 per cent in December.

Inner Sydney and outer Sydney saw modest increases from December, while middle Sydney saw a 0.9 of a percentage point drop in vacancies from the previous month, down to 4.2 per cent.

REINSW president Leanne Pilkington said that it is a case of supply and demand.

“Feedback from real estate agencies in Sydney’s middle ring — such as in Parramatta, Auburn and Bankstown — has been that the higher vacancy rates are due to new apartment developments, which have led to a market surplus.”

She said that landlords are finding it difficult to adjust by reducing rent.

“At the same time, real estate agencies in Sydney’s inner ring who report to us regularly — for example, in Campsie, Gladesville and Artarmon — have shown a decrease in their vacancy rates this month.”



The report found that while vacancies in the Hunter region overall remained fairly steady, Newcastle saw a 0.6 of a percentage point increase to 2.5 per cent this month.

“Agent feedback in Newcastle suggests that it is getting harder to find tenants, with a slower market and a surplus of properties up for lease,” Ms Pilkington said.

The report also found that Wollongong saw a significant jump in rental vacancies, from 2.7 per cent to 3.9 per cent.

“Agents have let us know there are a lot of new developments in the area — mainly for student housing — boosting Wollongong’s vacancy rate,” Ms Pilkington said. 

“Demand for student housing has also led to established residents in the area renting out their granny flats and rooms, which is also a contributing factor.”


The rest of NSW saw mild increases in five key areas: the Central Coast, 2.3 per cent; Mid-North Coast, 2.1 per cent; Murrumbidgee, 1.0 per cent; New England, 2.1 per cent; and Riverina, 0.9 of a percentage point.

The central west, Coffs Harbour and the south-eastern regions saw the largest decreases of between 0.5 and 0.7 of a percentage point.

The REINSW residential vacancy rate report is based on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of REINSW member agents on the 15th of each month.

The latest report is based on survey responses covering 132,493 residential rental properties.

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