Residential Vacancy rates around Australia – February 2013

One of the stats I watch to help me keep track of how the property investment markets around Australia are performing is the residential vacancy rates, as these flow through to rentals and investment yields.

And the latest figures released this week by SQM Research show that vacancy rates are tight in all capital cities other then Melbourne, with vacancies falling during the month of January  by 0.4% on a national level and coming to a total of 54,156..

SQM report:

This result is similar to that of the month’s preceding the Christmas period, strengthening the assumption that December’s elevated figures were due predominantly to seasonality.


Year on year, SQM Research has recorded a modest national increase of 0.1% with many of the capital cities’ vacancy rates remaining relatively the same. Canberra and Darwin however, have recorded the most dramatic yearly differences with Canberra increasing by 0.8% in vacancies and Darwin by 0.4%.

Month on month, all of the capital cities experienced declines, with Melbourne declining by a staggering 0.6% during the month of January. However, as mentioned above, SQM Research strongly believes December’s results to be based on seasonal changes and therefore these declines are not necessarily telling of any drastic changes in the rental market.

Thus as it currently stands, the rental market although loosening somewhat since the corresponding period of the previous year (January 2012) remains for the most part – tight, with the majority of capital cities excluding Melbourne, continuing to record vacancy rates of under 3%.

Having said this, SQM Research believes with a housing recovery commencing in many parts of the country, the rental crisis that many localities have been experiencing over the past 12 months, may slowly begin to be alleviated, with potential first home buyers who have been sitting tight, now beginning exit the rental market to purchase their own homes.

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research says,

“Taking into account seasonality, vacancy rates have proved to be very steady over the past two years now for the major capital cities. We note that in Hobart, there appears to be a tightening in vacancies once again, which may help existing real estate investors in what has been a severe downturn for that city.

When considering more micro localities, there are some clear pockets of oversupply and under supply such as Melbourne’s Southbank, which is recording a very high vacancy rate of 10.9% right now.  This goes to show it is important to consider the local factors as well as the greater macro tides.”


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Residential Vacancy rates around Australia – February 2013' have 2 comments


    November 18, 2013 Yt lam

    I just bought a one bed room apartment in south bank, melbourne for investment. The sales material indicated that it is 52 sq m. The builder’s surveyed report indicated it also at 52 sq m.

    I felt that it is somewhat smaller by 15 %. Can you advise me how to get a second opinion. I am willing to pay for a surveyor report on the gross floor area. Is there any recommendation from you and is there recourse for me if the apartment turns out to be much smaller as claimed AFTER I have bought it? Thank you for your advice in advance.


    Yt lam, singapore


      Michael Yardney

      November 18, 2013 Michael Yardney

      The first for you is to measure the apartment – if you are overseas, get a surveyor to measure the apartment.
      Sheer is unlikely to be much recourse as most off the plan contracts allow for amendments to the original plans


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