Figures released by SQM Research this week have revealed the number of residential vacancies edged down across the nation in March 2015, with a vacancy rate of 2.1% posted based on 64,009 vacancies, down from 2.2% in February when vacancies were 66,094.
Falls were recorded in most capitals cities, excluding Darwin and Perth where vacancy rates continue to rise.
The highest fall was recorded in Melbourne with a monthly change of 0.2 percentage points from February.
Over the year, vacancy rates in Melbourne have remained the same at a steady 2.1%.
Modest falls were also posted in Sydney and Adelaide.
In contrast, Darwin has posted the biggest yearly rise in its vacancy rate to 3.4% from 1.2%, reflecting the continued impact of the commodities downturn weighing down on employment and property markets in that city.
Perth also recorded ongoing yearly rises with vacancy rates jumping from 1.9% to 2.7% in March 2015.
Notably, SQM Research data records falling asking rents in Perth, Canberra and, in particular Darwin, which has recorded a fall in asking rents of 13.7% for houses and 4.7% for units for the past 12 months.
In contrast, asking rents in Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney have recorded modest rises for the same period.
Overall asking rents fell for houses in the past 30 days by 0.4% and rose by 0.5% for units.
National rental growth is now below annual CPI.
The national rental market continues to slow.
It is coming up in our vacancy series and in our asking rents which are now rising at a slower rate than general inflation.
With the east coast market still been driven upwards, largely investor demand, it does make me wonder if investors are aware that it is increasingly a tenants market out there.