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Sydney vacancy rates reverse course, tightening further

By Juliet Helmke
09 August 2022 | 11 minute read
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Rental vacancies in Sydney did not continue on the trajectory recorded last month, with available properties in the city once again drying up over the course of July.

Data from the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) revealed that the vacancy rate for Sydney had fallen by 0.3 per cent for the month, now sitting at just 1.7 per cent across Australia’s most populous city.

“The drop is attributable to vacancies in the inner ring dropping by 0.7 per cent to be 2.2 per cent and [bringing] the residential vacancy rate to its lowest level in almost five and a half years, when it sat at 1.7 per cent in August 2017,” explained REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin.

It was an unfortunate reversal of the movements recorded last month, when the city-wide vacancy rate rose to 2 per cent, up from a five-year low recorded in May. 

Taken all together, Mr McKibbin commented that the latest monthly drop represented a worrying trend for the city.

“This really is a historical low for Sydney and shows that the rental crisis has definitely taken hold,” he said.

Elsewhere in the state, the industry body described the availability of rental properties as “a mixed bag”, with some areas easing and others tightening.

“Vacancy rates for the Albury, Mid-North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern Rivers, Orana and South Coast areas all recorded increases,” Mr McKibbin said. “However, the Central Coast, Central West, New England, Riverina and south east areas each dropped.”

In the Hunter region, meanwhile, the vacancy rate decreased by 0.1 per cent to 1.6, while the Illawarra region increased to 1.2 per cent, a bump of 0.3 per cent.

According to Mr McKibbin, the institute is receiving increasing reports from industry professionals that this is among the worst rental markets they’ve ever seen.

“REINSW members are telling us that they’ve never experienced such a lack of supply. The shortage of stock is extreme and there’s no denying that the rental crisis is real,” he said.

“In the face of cost-of-living pressures, many tenants would embrace the opportunity to secure a more affordable rental property. However, despite rent increases, they’re choosing to stay put because they’re just not confident that they’ll be able to secure another property. It’s a very stressful time for tenants.”

Sydney vacancy rates reverse course, tightening further
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Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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