National vacancy rate stumbles in August

The number of residential vacancies fell slightly across the nation in August 2015, with a vacancy rate of 2.3% posted based on 71,254 vacancies.

Vacancies dropped slightly in most capital cities, excluding Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin, where vacancies remained the same.

Key Points

  • Nationally, vacancies fell during August 2015, recording a vacancy rate of 2.3%, based on 71,254 vacancies nationally.
  • vacancyDarwin has posted the biggest yearly rise in its vacancy rate from 1.5% to 3.5%.
  • During August, vacancy rates remained unchanged for Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin compared to July 2015.
  • Vacancy rates in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, and Perth remained the same from July 2015 to August 2015.
  • Year on year, vacancy rates dropped in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart.
  • The biggest yearly fall was recorded in Hobart, with August vacancy rates down 0.5 percentage points from this time last year (August 2014).

Over the year, vacancy rates in Darwin have continued to climb with a significant 2.0% jump from this time last year.

Vacancy rates in Perth have also climbed up 1.1% over the last 12 months.


Year-on-year, vacancy rates are down for Hobart and to a lesser extent Melbourne, with Hobart vacancies falling 0.5 percentage points over the last year, bringing the total number of vacancies down to 301.

Melbourne experienced similar yearly falls with vacancies falling from 2.6% to 2.2%, a total fall of 0.4 percentage points.

Both falls reflect the tightening of the both residential markets post downturns.

Asking rents

Notably, Darwin has recorded a fall in asking rents of 21.3% for houses and 17.8% for units for the past 12 months.

Yearly falls have also been recorded in Perth, with asking rents down 8.1% for houses and 5.5% for units.

In contrast, Hobart has recorded a rise of 6.7% for houses and 8.3% for units. Asking rents in Adelaide, Melbourne and to a lesser extent Sydney have also recorded modest rises for the same period.

There was a slight fall in vacancies this month, however I am still of the opinion that vacancies will gradually rise from here over the next 12 months.

Already there has been a noticeable impact upon the rental market with rents in most cities recording slower rental growth rates or, in some cases, recording falls in rents.

It is only the tourist destinations such as the Gold Coast and Hobart which are recording stronger rental conditions.

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Louis Christopher


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 vacancy rate stumbles in August' have 1 comment


    September 18, 2015 George

    All points to one thing. The huge increase in Sydney and Melbourne property prices is totally unjustified. i.e It has not been underpinned by increases in rent. Rents have either tracked sideways or gone down whilst property prices are reaching for the sky. This is very evident in inner city suburbs like Kogarah in Sydney. In previous property booms they have always been preceded by a rental boom. This is the only time in history this has not occurred. However every property boom has also been followed by a fall in rents resulting from the oversupply of rental properties. Hence my call that some time soon Sydney and Melbourne property prices will “correct” back to realistic values that reflect a reasonable return (yield) on investment.


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