Record Low Rental Vacancies as Capitals Slip Under 1pc


For the first time on record five of eight Australian capital cities have rental vacancy rates under 1 per cent as the national average drops to 1.5 per cent.

SQM Research data has shown many regional areas and holiday destinations were edging closer to putting the “no vacancy” signs out in the run up to Christmas.

Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart all had vacancy rates below 1 per cent, while the bigger metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane remained above the 1 per cent mark.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said the main area of the Gold Coast had recorded another fall in vacancy rates to 0.7 per cent, and this was likely to fall further during the December-January holiday period.

“As we come to the end of 2021, the no vacancy sign is lit up across most of Australia,” Christopher said.

“There has not been a time when five of our eight capital cities simultaneously recorded rental vacancy rates under 1 per cent.

“This has translated into surging rental rises, particularly for houses where the capital city rise for the year is now recorded up by 11.7 per cent.”

Capital city vacancy rates and rent changes over 12 months

CityNov 20 Vacancy RateNov 21 Vacancy RateRent (house)12-month change

^Source: SQM Research - November 2021

Christopher said demand for bigger properties had increased during the pandemic, and while there had not been a reversal in this trend yet, he forecast a shift back to apartments next year.

“I believe 2022 will see a move towards units, simply by virtue of their relative affordability plus the new inflow of immigrants will look for unit accommodation first and foremost as they have done in the past,” he said.

The total vacancies Australia-wide now stands at 55,370 residential properties, down from 56,953 in November.

Melbourne and Brisbane’s vacancy rate dropped to 3.2 per cent and 1.3 per cent in November from 3.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent in October.

The Sydney and Melbourne CBDs recorded a fall in vacancy rates but remain high at 6.9 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.

National asking rents rose 0.4 per cent for houses to $551 per week and units rose by 1 per cent to $416 a week.

It now costs an average of $603 a week to rent a house in a capital city, an increase of 2.4 per cent over the past 30 days, while apartment rents went up 0.7 per cent to an average of $427 per week.

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