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NSW vacancy rates may have risen, but be wary

By Alana Su-Navratil
18 January 2024 | 10 minute read
tim mckibbin reinsw 2022 reb zk09dk

NSW’s rental vacancy strife looks like its here to stay, despite little wins in some regions of the state.

Overall, the vacancy rate in the month of December 2023 for Sydney rose by 0.6 per cent to 1.8 per cent.

The data comes from the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales’ (REINSW) Vacancy Rate Survey results for December 2023, covering 144,959 properties.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin describes December’s rise in vacancy rates as a “seasonal fluctuation”, which happens “as students vacate for the festive period and families make decisions about where they want to live in the new year”.

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

Specifically, there has been a slight improvement to Sydney’s inner ring vacancy rate sitting at 1.8 per cent – a 0.6 per cent rise since last month. That incorporates local government areas including Ashfield, Lane Cove, Marrickville and Randwick.

Mr McKibbin warned that even though the REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey results for December 2023 exhibited a slight relief across metropolitan areas and some regions, “any celebrations about the end of the rental crisis should definitely be put on hold”.

“We’re still experiencing historical lows in the availability of rental accommodation,” Mr McKibbin conceded.

He explained: “Demand for rental accommodation certainly isn’t slowing, but the number of properties in the supply pipeline is. The inevitable knock-on impact is fewer properties available in the rental pool.”

The areas where there was a dramatic drop in vacancy rates in the last month were Newcastle and Wollongong.

Newcastle’s vacancy rate dropped from 3 per cent to 1.9 per cent in the space of one month, while Wollongong saw an even sharper decline, from 3 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

Other areas of the Illawarra also experienced a critical drop in vacancy rates going from 1.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent over the course of the month.

REINSW did note there are some areas across the state where rental vacancies might provide some relief for those looking to rent.

The Mid-North Coast experienced a 0.8 per cent rise, while South Coast vacancy rates rose 1.1 per cent, and the South Eastern regions rate rose 0.9 per cent. Albury and Coffs Harbour areas have also remained steady throughout 2023.

Within the past year, the area of New England experienced a relatively consistent steady upward trend. It closed out the year with a 2.1 per cent vacancy rate in comparison to the low of 0.5 per cent seen in December 2022.

NSW vacancy rates may have risen, but be wary
tim mckibbin reinsw 2022 reb zk09dk
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