Vacancy Rates Steady in September for Most Cities

Data released by SQM Research this week has revealed the national residential vacancy rate was 2.2% in September 2017, with the number of vacancies Australia-wide at 72,955 – a slight rise on the month of August. 28803914_l

Hobart’s vacancy rate remained at the lowest level ever recorded by SQM at 0.4%.

In the bigger cities, vacancies rose in Sydney to 13,114 in September, up from 12,760 in August, giving a vacancy rate of 2.1%.

That compares to 2.0% the previous month.

In Melbourne, the vacancy rate rose to 1.9% with 9,713 rental properties available, increasing from 1.7% in August, helping to alleviate an ongoing shortage of rental properties in that city.

Key Points

  • Nationally, vacancies rose in September to 72,955, recording a vacancy rate of 2.2%, steady from 2.2% in August.
  • Perth recorded the highest vacancy rate of the capital cities at 4.5% in September, but down from 5.0% a year ago.
  • Hobart recorded the lowest vacancy rate of 0.4%, a record low and down from 0.6% a year earlier.
  • Adelaide’s vacancy rate was 1.6%, steady over the month but down from 2.0% a year earlier.
City September 2016 Vacancies Vacancy Rate August 2017 Vacancies Vacancy Rate September 2017 Vacancies Vacancy Rate
Adelaide  3,377 2.0%  2,738 1.6%  2,787 1.6%
Perth  10,463 5.0%  9,832 4.6%  9,735 4.5%
Melbourne  9,804 2.0%  8,767 1.7%  9,713 1.9%
Brisbane  9,921 2.9%  10,893 3.1%  11,185 3.2%
Canberra  610 1.1%  608 1.0%  591 1.0%
Sydney  10,906 1.8%  12,760 2.0%  13,114 2.1%
Darwin  902 3.1%  768 2.5%  822 2.7%
Hobart  162 0.6%  100 0.4%  102 0.4%
National  75,412 2.4%  71,540 2.2%  72,955 2.2%

Hobart’s vacancy rate sat at 0.4%, steady from last month and the lowest on record since SQM started recording data in 2005.

In Canberra, the vacancy rate was steady at 1.0%. 

Elsewhere, the vacancy rose in Perth fell to 4.5% from 4.6% in August, the highest of any capital city, while Adelaide’s vacancy rate was steady at 1.6%, but down from 2% a year earlier.

Darwin’s vacancy rate rose to 2.7% from 2.5% from a month earlier.

Vacancy rates in Darwin are down from 3.1% a year earlier.

The vacancy numbers would give some slight relief to home seekers in Sydney and Melbourne, though those in Hobart and Canberra faced ongoing tight rental conditions and higher rents.

In Hobart, the rental situation remains very difficult, with just 102 properties available for rent in September, giving rise to the record low vacancy rate of just 0.4%.

Elsewhere the rental markets remained largely unchanged from the previous month.

Going forward we expect some seasonal rises, particularly once the university year wraps up.

Asking Rents

Capital city asking rents over the month to 12 October rose 0.2% to $550 a week for houses, to be up 1.9% over the year.

Unit asking rents were steady at $438 a week, though up 1.9% over the year. map australia

Asking house rents in Hobart and Canberra jumped from a year earlier, to be up 7.5% and 8.7%, respectively.

Monthly rises for Canberra were strong at 2.4%.

Asking rents for units jumped 3.3% from a year earlier in Canberra and were up 8.1% in Hobart, adding to rent unaffordability in that city.

In contrast, asking rents for houses moderated slightly in Sydney to be up 1.8% over the year and were up by 0.7% over the month.

The asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Sydney is now the highest in the nation at $738 while for units it stands at $521.

Asking rents for units were up 2.0% over the year.


Annually, asking rents for houses moderated also in Melbourne, up 0.2% over the month and 4.9% over the year to October 12.

Unit asking rents rose 4.3% over the year but fell 1.1% over the month.

The asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Melbourne now sits at $509 and for units it sits at $395. In Perth and Darwin, asking rents are still falling due to the mining downturn.


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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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