Vacancy Rates Fell Again for August


The national residential property rental vacancy rates fell again to just 1.6% over the month of August 2021.

At the national level, this is the lowest rental vacancy rate recorded since March 2011.

Vacancy Rates

The total number of vacancies Australia-wide now stands at 58,856 residential properties, down from 61,313 in July.  Melbourne Property

Melbourne’s vacancy rate fell to 3.5% in August from 3.6% in July, while in Sydney vacancy rates dropped to 2.6% from 2.7%.

In a sign that harsher capital city lockdowns are affecting the rental market, many regions in NSW recorded falls in rental vacancy rates such as the Blue Mountains and NSW North Coast which recorded falls in vacancies over August to 0.6% and 0.7% respectively.

In Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Canberra, and Hobart the vacancy rate remained below 1.0%, while Brisbane’s rate remained constant.

Vacancy rates rose in the Sydney CBD to 7.8%. Melbourne CBD also recorded a rise in rental vacancies to 8.3%.

Vacancy Rates August

SQM’s calculations of vacancies are based on online rental listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more compared to the total number of established rental properties. SQM considers this to be a superior methodology compared to using a potentially incomplete sample of agency surveys or merely relying on raw online listings advertised. Please go to our Methodology page for more information on how SQM’s vacancies are compiled.


Over the month to 12 September 2021, national asking rents rose 1.3% for houses to $533 per week and units rose by 0.2% to $402 a week.

The national rise was driven by larger regional increases over and above the capital cities.

SQM Research believes the lockdowns may have triggered another wave of interest in regional living as many of the community seek freedom away from harsh Covid measures.

Capital city rents remained steady for houses over the past 30 days and are up by 9.1% over the past 12 months.

Rents for units rose by 0.2% over the past 30 days and up by just 1.9% for the past 12 months.

Rents rose for most regions around Australia. Rents for houses in North Coast NSW rose by 4.2% for the month.

Rents rose by 6.7% for the month in Sydney’s Blue Mountains.

Rents also rose by 4.8% for houses in the Mornington Peninsula and rents rose a stunning 8.2% for houses in Toowoomba.

There are strong signs the current lockdowns are creating another wave of interest in regional property. Property Price

SQM Research has recorded new falls in rental vacancy rates across many of our regions, while at the same time, CBD rental vacancy rates have surged again over August.

While it is true that a number of regional areas have been in lockdown, it has been perceived that the regional lockdowns have not been as harsh or as widespread compared to the city-wide restrictions.

Going forward, we anticipate that vacancy rates will fall again over the month of September.

Weekly listing updates through to the 12th of September suggest a further tightening of conditions and so it is reasonable to expect another surge in rents in most areas except for the CBD locations.


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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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