The end of winter sees a rise in rents and fall in vacancy rates

Figures released by SQM Research this week have revealed that the number of national residential vacancies dropped in August.

73,451 vacancies, giving a vacancy rate of 2.3%, with vacancies dropping in all capital cities, pushing up rents in most locations, especially in Sydney and Melbourne where the vacancy rates are now below 2%.



  • Nationally, vacancies fell slightly during August 2016, recording a rate of 2.3%, based on 73,451 vacancies.
  • Perth recorded the highest vacancy rate in August 2016 of 5.0% based on 10,303 vacancies. Year on year, vacancy rates climbed 1.3 percentage points.
  • Year on year, vacancy rates are down for Canberra, Hobart, Darwin and Melbourne.
  • Hobart recorded the lowest vacancy rate during August 2016 – 0.5%.
  • Over the past 12 months, Perth has recorded ongoing falls in asking rents of 9.6% for houses and 11.4% for units.
  • Rents remain under pressure in Darwin too as the mining downturn weighs on demand.

The biggest capital cities Sydney and Melbourne recorded vacancies rates of 1.7% and 1.9%, respectively, while Hobart had the tightest rate at just 0.5%.

In contrast, Perth recorded the highest vacancy rate of 5.0% in August, though it fell by 0.2 percentage points from a record high of 5.2% in July.

Year-on-year results demonstrate that the national vacancy rate is steady from this time last year.

Asking rents  

Reflecting a high vacancy rate, Perth has recorded big falls in asking rents of 9.6% for houses and 11.4% for units over the past 12 months.]

Yearly falls have also been recorded in Darwin, with asking rents down 1.5% for houses and 5.5% for units.

In contrast, asking rents jumped in Canberra, up 12.1% for houses and 9.6% for units.

Despite a very tight vacancy rate, Hobart continues to record the most affordable rental accommodation with rents for houses at just $343 a week and units averaging $279 a week.

Vacancy rates have edged down in all capital cities.

Reflecting that, asking rents have jumped in some cities, including Sydney where the asking rent for a three-bedroom house jumped 4.8% to $713 a week over the year to September 20 and in Melbourne, rents jumped to $486, up 3.4%.

Perth continues to be the ongoing exception with asking rents still falling as the mining downturn weighs on prices, despite a slightly lower vacancy

Looking forward, fears of an apartment oversupply in Melbourne, if true, cannot come soon enough, as at present, having a vacancy rate trending down below 2% is highly suggestive that landlords are in control of the market.

Sydney is likely to remain a landlord’s market as the city’s growing population creates demand for new stock.

The only area right now where we are recording sustained increases in vacancies is the Hills District.





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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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