Vacancy Rates Jump in November

The national residential vacancy rate rose to 2.3% in November 2018, up from 2.0% in October, with vacancies jumping in Sydney and edging higher in all capital cities ahead of the summer break.

The number of vacancies Australia-wide sat at 74,590 properties.

Sydney’s vacancy rate jumped to 3.2% in November from 2.8% in October with 22,215 properties available for rent.

Melbourne’s vacancy rate rose to 1.9% from 1.6% with 10,808 rental properties available while in Brisbane, the vacancy rate increased to 3.0% from 2.7% with 9,783 properties available for rent.

Vacancy Rates

Key Points

  • Nationally, the vacancy rose fell to 3% in November from October.
  • Sydney’s vacancy rate rose to 2%.
  • Hobart recorded the lowest vacancy rate of 4%.
  • Melbourne’s vacancy rate rose to 9% in November.
  • Capital city asking rents for houses rose 4% over the month to 12 December 2018 to $555 a week
  • Capital city asking rents for units fell by 5% to $436 a week

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. For Rent

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 below for more information on how SQM’s vacancies are compiled.

Canberra’s rental market felt some relief with the vacancy rate rising to 0.9%, up from 0.6%.

Hobart’s rate rose slightly to 0.4% from 0.3%, though the rental market remains very tight.

Perth’s vacancy rate edged higher to 3.4% from 3.3% in October, but is well down from 4.5% a year ago.   


Darwin’s vacancy rate rose to 4.0% from 3.8% in October, well up from 2.8% a year ago.

Adelaide’s rose slightly to 1.2% from 1.1%.

The rise in vacancy rates across cities is expected in November as the year winds up and demand for rental accommodation drops.

But we are also seeing an emerging oversupply of rental accommodation in Sydney, with the vacancy rate well up from 2.1% a year ago.

It is a renter’s market there, with bargaining power moving to tenants as some landlords struggle to fill their rental properties.

In Hobart, a shortage of rental accommodation remains with just 107 properties available to rent in November and the Canberra market also remains very tight.

Asking Rents

Despite the rise in vacancies, capital city asking rents for houses rose 0.4% over the month to 12 December 2018 to $555 a week.

Unit asking rents, however, fell 0.5% to $436 a week. House Rent

Over the year, asking rents for houses rose just 0.9% while unit asking rents slipped 0.2%.

Despite the upward pressure on the vacancy rate, the asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Sydney remains the highest nationwide at $708 a week and $507 a week for two-bedroom units. Asking unit rents were down 1.1% in Sydney over the month while asking house rents fell 0.5%.

Asking rents in Melbourne for houses rose 1.5% over the month to $535 a week while asking rents for units rose 0.2% to $407 despite the rise in the vacancy rate.

Vacancy Rates2.jpg



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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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