Vacancy Rates Steady in April – While Asking Rents Dip

Data released by SQM Research this week has revealed the national residential vacancy rate was unchanged at 2.1% in April 2018, with the number of vacancies Australia-wide sitting at 67,854 properties. key house

There was good news for property investors in Brisbane, where the vacancy rate fell to 3.0%, down from 3.2% in March and 3.7% a year earlier.

Melbourne saw a fall in its vacancy rate to 1.3% in April, down from 1.4%. Sydney’s vacancy rate was steady at 2.3%, but up from 1.7% a year earlier, while Canberra’s rate rose to 0.8%, up from 0.6%.

City April 2017 Vacancies Vacancy Rate March 2018 Vacancies Vacancy Rate April 2018 Vacancies Vacancy Rate
Adelaide 3,229 1.8% 2,519 1.4% 2,427 1.3%
Perth 10,316 5.2% 8,221 4.1% 8,245 4.1%
Melbourne 8,112 1.5% 7,479 1.4% 7,317 1.3%
Brisbane 11,539 3.7% 10,246 3.2% 9,774 3.0%
Canberra 601 1.0% 392 0.6% 474 0.8%
Sydney 11,444 1.7% 15,833 2.3% 15,809 2.3%
Darwin 1,006 3.4% 1,073 3.6% 1,011 3.3%
Hobart 166 0.6% 191 0.6% 219 0.7%
National 76,959 2.4% 68,964 2.1% 67,854 2.1%

Key Points

  • Nationally, the vacancy rate was steady at 2.1% in April from March but down from 2.4% a year earlier. Map Australia Country Population State House Property Vic Qld Nsw Tas Wa Nt 300x199
  • Hobart recorded the lowest vacancy rate of 0.7%.
  • Perth recorded the highest vacancy rate of the capital cities at 4.1% in April, but that was down from 5.2% a year ago as the surplus of rental properties eases.
  • Melbourne’s vacancy rate was 1.3%, down from 1.4% in March.
  • Sydney’s vacancy rate was steady at 2.3%, but up from 1.7% a year earlier.
  • Capital city asking rents for houses rose fell over the month to 12 May 2018 by 1.6% to $554 a week

Hobart’s vacancy rate inched higher to 0.7% from 0.6% in March.

While vacancies remain tight, this is the sixth straight month of vacancy increases, signalling that the worse now could be over for Hobart tenants. 

We are finally seeing some rent relief in Hobart where asking house rents fell by 2.8% over the month to 12 May, with a slight uptick in the vacancy rate there.

In Sydney too, we are seeing some relief in rental costs, with asking rents for houses down by 1.6% over the month and 2.2% lower over the year given a rise in its vacancy rate to 2.3% from 1.7%.

But high rents remain a constraint for many renters, with unit asking rents still rising in most capital cities, apart from Darwin and Perth.

In Adelaide, the vacancy rate edged lower to just 1.3%, down from 1.4% in March.

Darwin’s vacancy rate fell bucked the national trend and fell to 3.3% from 3.6% in March.

The vacancy rate in Perth was steady at 4.1%, but down from 5.2% a year earlier as the oversupply of rental properties eases in that city.

Asking Rents

Capital city asking rents for houses rose fell over the month to 12 May 2018 by 1.6% to $554 a week. For Rent

Unit asking rents rose 0.5% to $445 a week.

Over the year, asking house rents fell by 0.2%, which could give some relief to renters, including in Sydney and Perth, where asking house rents are down by 1.6% over the year.

Still, the asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Sydney remains the highest in the nation at $726 a week while for units it stands at $525.

Canberra follows at $619 a week for houses and $442 for units.

In Melbourne, asking rents for houses were down over the month by 0.7% to $534 while unit asking rents rose by 0.7% to $410.

Weekly Rents



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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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