National Vacancy Rates Jump in April

The national residential rental vacancy rates surged in April 2019 to 2.3%, an increase from 2.1% in March.  

The total number of vacancies Australia-wide is now at 77,664 properties for rent, a rise of just under 10,000 dwellings over the past 12 months. 12353887_l

Darwin’s vacancy rate of 3.6% in April, was the only capital city to experience a decrease in vacancy rates of 0.1%, but it continues to rank the highest of all capital cities since it overtook Perth in September 2018.

Sydney rental vacancy rates leaped to 3.4%, an increase from 3.1% in March.

This represents a new record high for Sydney, based on SQM’s rental index which goes back to 2005.

Hobart’s vacancy rate increased to 0.6% in April and continues to record the lowest vacancy rate in the country since September 2014.

CityApr-2018 VacanciesApr-2018 Vacancy RateMar-2019 VacanciesMar-2019 Vacancy RateApr-2019 VacanciesApr-2019 Vacancy Rate
National67,8542.1%70,877 2.1%77,6642.3%

Key Points

  • National vacancy increased to 3% in April 2019, from 2.1% in March.
  • Darwin has recorded the highest of all capital cities at 6%.
  • Sydney is not far behind with a vacancy rate of 4%, an increase from 3.1% in March
  • Capital city asking rents increased 2% for units, but declined 0.4% for houses over April to record asking rents of $554 per week for houses and $442 per week for units.

Tenancy demand has been weak over the course of March and April.

That combined with the expectation that dwelling completions are at their peak, prompted the rise in rental vacancies, which happened largely across the country, last month.

Going forward we expect rental vacancy rates will further rise in Sydney and Melbourne for most of 2019, before peaking and falling in 2020 as completions are forecasted to fall.

Asking Rents

Capital city asking rents increased 0.2% for units, but declined 0.4% for houses for the week ending 12 May to record asking rents of $554 per week for houses and $442 per week for units.

In comparison, over the 12 months, asking rents for units declined by 0.7% and rents for houses remained steady. Rent

Sydney’s asking rent for units and houses have both marginally declined by 0.3% for units and 1.5% for houses to 12 May.

Over 12 months, the decline has been 5.0% for house rents and 3.8% for units.

Perth’s rental market continued to increase over this period for both houses and units, at 0.5% and 0.2% respectively, as did Brisbane, with a 0.4% increase for houses and 0.6% for units.

Darwin experienced a marginal increase of 1.4% over the month in house rents, after a decrease of 8.0% over the 12 months.

However, units continue to slide at 1.7% over the month and 7.9% over the 12 months.

SQM Research Weekly Rents Index
Week ending: 12 May 2019Rent $Change on
previous week
Rolling month
% change
12 month
% change
SydneyAll Houses690.01.0-1.5%-5.0%
All Units505.2-0.2-0.3%-3.8%
MelbourneAll Houses542.4-1.4-0.2%1.7%
All Units422.51.50.0%3.1%
BrisbaneAll Houses458.50.50.4%2.7%
All Units373.20.80.6%1.5%
PerthAll Houses447.00.00.5%6.1%
All Units337.20.80.2%4.0%
AdelaideAll Houses391.6-0.6-0.2%2.5%
All Units302.90.10.5%1.0%
CanberraAll Houses624.3-6.3-1.7%0.9%
All Units455.9-0.90.0%3.2%
DarwinAll Houses497.7-1.71.4%-8.0%
All Units370.6-3.6-1.7%-7.9%
HobartAll Houses426.82.2-0.3%7.4%
All Units374.812.22.3%4.0%
NationalAll Houses443.02.00.5%1.4%
All Units363.0-4.0-0.5%0.8%
Cap City AverageAll Houses554.01.0-0.4% 0.0%
All Units442.02.00.2%-0.7%



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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.

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