Vacancy Rates Decline in January


The national residential vacancy rate declined to 2.2% in January 2019, from 2.5% in December 2018, with the total number of vacancies Australia-wide declining to 72,574 – 9,984 less properties are now available for rent since December 2018.

All capital cities, except Hobart experienced a decline in their vacancy rates in January with Darwin currently having the highest vacancy rate of all capital cities at 3.8%, down from 0.5% on December’s vacancy of 4.3%.

Although Hobart increased its vacancy rate marginally by 0.1%, it still remains the lowest of all capital cities at 0.5% for January 2019.

Sydney’s vacancy rate, although declining, is still currently the second highest of all capital cities at 3.2% with 22,426 properties available for rent.

CityJan-2018 VacanciesJan-2018 Vacancy RateDec-2018 VacanciesDec-2018 Vacancy RateJan-2019 VacanciesJan-2019 Vacancy Rate
National74,113 2.3%82,558 2.5%72,574 2.2%

Key Points

  • Nationally, the vacancy rate declined to 2% in January, down from 2.5% in Dec-2018.
  • Hobart was the only capital city to increase – up marginally by 0.1% but continues to record the lowest vacancy rate of 5%.
  • Darwin continues to have the highest vacancy rate at 8%, followed by Sydney which declined to 3.2%.
  • Capital city asking rents for Houses rose 7% over the month to 12 January 2019 to $559
    per week.
  • Capital city asking rents for Units also rose by 7% to $439 a week.

Asking Rents

The decline in vacancies is expected in January as December usually has a higher seasonal listings.  Buy Home In Australia

It still appears to be a tenants’ market in Darwin and Sydney where vacancy rates are high at 3.8% and 3.2% respectively.

Going forward, we expect another seasonal decline in vacancies for the month of February.

However for the year our expectation is national vacancy rates will rise at the national level, driven by rises in Sydney.

The decline in vacancies saw asking rents for houses in capital city increase 0.2% over the month to 12 February 2019 to $560 a week.

Unit asking rents also increased 0.7% to $442 a week.

Over the year, asking rents for houses declined 0.4% while unit asking rents remained steady.

Hobart recorded the highest weekly rental increase of 4.8% for units but house weekly rents declined 0.6% declined.  

12 months ago, Hobart’s house asking rent increased by 4.3%.

Sydney, Melbourne and Perth recorded marginal increases in both house and unit asking rents over the month to 12 February 2019.

Whilst Darwin, Brisbane and Adelaide recorded declines in weekly rents for both houses and units.

Canberra’s house rentals increased 1.6% but unit asking rents declined 1.7%.

SQM Research Weekly Rents Index
Week ending: 12 Feb 2019RentChange on
prev week
Rolling month
% change
12 month
% change
CanberraAll Houses644.92.11.6%4.7%
All Units460.4-4.4-1.7%5.6%
SydneyAll Houses710.1-1.10.6%-4.5%
All Units510.70.30.4%-2.8%
DarwinAll Houses504.3-3.3-0.5%-9.4%
All Units384.60.4-1.8%-6.4%
BrisbaneAll Houses457.4-0.4-0.1%1.7%
All Units374.70.3-0.4%1.5%
AdelaideAll Houses392.4-1.4-0.9%2.7%
All Units299.8-1.8-0.8%1.2%
HobartAll Houses418.7-1.7-0.6%4.3%
All Units357.9-16.94.8%2.1%
MelbourneAll Houses543.70.30.4%3.0%
All Units417.21.82.0%4.2%
PerthAll Houses440.81.20.3%3.2%
All Units328.6-0.60.6%1.5%
NationalAll Houses448.00.0-0.2%0.2%
All Units362.0-4.0-1.6%3.1%
Cap City AverageAll Houses560.01.00.2%-0.4%
All Units442.00.00.7%0.0%



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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.

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