Vacancy Rates Steady in April, 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.

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%.



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,” said Louis Christopher, Managing Director of SQM Research.

“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,” said Christopher.

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. 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.

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