National Rental Vacancy Rate Remains Stable in November


The national residential rental vacancy rate remained stable at 2.1% over the month of November 2020. Property 2

The total number of vacancies Australia-wide is now 72,879 vacant residential properties.

This time last year, the national vacancy rate was higher at 2.2%.

In most capital cities the vacancy rate remained stable over the month except for Sydney which saw a minor decrease from 3.6% in October to 3.5% in November.

Brisbane also recorded a decrease from 2.0% in October to 1.8% in November.

Melbourne’s vacancy rate remained at 4.4% in November and is the highest vacancy rate in the nation.

This time last year, Melbourne’s vacancy rate was low at 2.2%. Hobart’s vacancy rate remains the lowest in the nation at 0.6%.

The surplus of rental property is most acute in Melbourne and Sydney’s CBDs.

The Melbourne CBD vacancy rate stands at 9.1% in November, although having declined from a high of 10.8% in September, mostly comprising of units – 2137 vacant units in September falling to 2030 in early December.

Sydney CBD vacancy rate peaked at 16.2% in May 2020 but has declined to 9.5% in November.

Currently there are 705 vacant units as at December 2020, declining from 1214 in May 2020.

CityNovember 2019 VacanciesNovember 2019 Vacancy RateOctober 2020


October 2020

Vacancy Rate

November 2020


November 2020

Vacancy Rate


SQM’s calculations of vacancies are based on online rental listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more compared to the total number of established rental properties. SQM considers this to be a superior methodology compared to using a potentially incomplete sample of agency surveys or merely relying on raw online listings advertised. Please go to our Methodology page for more information on how SQM’s vacancies are compiled.

Rents for units in our two largest cities are still falling, though I note there appears to be a commencement of a reversal in the abundance of listings in the CBD’s of these two cities. They are still very elevated.

But we could be starting to see some of the population moving back to the CBD and inner city locations.

Asking Rents

Over the month, Capital City average asking rents increased 0.4% for houses but decreased 0.2% for units for the week ending 12 December 2020 to record asking rents of $540 per week for houses and $408 per week for units.

Most capital cities recorded increases in both house and unit asking rents, with Darwin recording the highest increase of 6.7% over the month for houses and 4.3% in unit asking rents, followed closely by Hobart which recorded a 6.4% increase in house rents and 3.3% increase in unit rents.

Sydney recorded rental increases in houses of 0.9% but a decline in units rents of 0.6%. melbourne

Canberra also recorded increases in house rents of 3.5% and unit rents declined by 1.2%.

Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth house and unit rents also increased over the month.  Melbourne however, recorded declines in both house and unit asking rents over the month of 0.1% and 1.4% respectively.

Year on year, Capital City Average asking rents declined for both houses and units – 1.8% and 6.0% respectively.

Sydney in particular recording a high 6.7% decline in houses and 9.6% decline in units in November 2019.

Melbourne’s asking rents also declined year on year, 4.1% for houses and 6.7% for units.

Darwin’s year on year house rents saw a significant 21.2% growth and Perth house rents increased by 10.5% and units 9.5% growth over 12 months.


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Louis is recognised as one of Australia’s most respected and impartial research property analyst. He has extensive knowledge and experience of property and is regularly quoted in the media on his insights and is director of SQM Research.

'National Rental Vacancy Rate Remains Stable in November' have 2 comments

    Avatar for Louis Christopher

    December 18, 2020 Rob

    FORTUNATELY My wife and I own a 3br Townhouse in a twenty minute suburb (Park Central NSW 2560). A Ten minute walk to all essential services has made this location very popular with renters. I wanted to buy a similar townhouse next(same street) door but we don,t have the confidence to negative gear a 3rd property. Anything can happen


      December 19, 2020 Michael Yardney

      Rob, clearly anything can happen in the short-term, however in the long term the value of well located properties will keep increasing. Taking on debt is not a problem, not being able to repay the debt is a problem. So having the right financial buffers in place will give you security and peace of mind


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