Victoria’s regional centres have tighter rental markets than Melbourne, according to the latest figures from the state’s real estate institute.

Commenting on REIV February vacancy rate figures for the state’s three main regional hubs (Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo), REIV CEO Enzo Raimondo noted that the availability of rental homes in regional Victoria remains very low.

“In the Ballarat region the vacancy rate is a low 1% and Bendigo continues to be one of the most difficult places to find a rental home in Victoria, with a vacancy rate of 0.6%” he said.

Geelong had the highest vacancy rate of the main Victorian regional cities, at 2.3%, but this was still below what was described as the more “balanced” figure for Melbourne of 2.4%.

“The February rental vacancy rate in Melbourne of 2.4 per cent indicates a greater availability of rental homes than is the case in regional Victoria,” said Raimondo, adding that the overall vacancy rate for regional Victoria was recorded at 1.4% by the REIV.

“A vacancy rate of 3% represents a balanced market where renters are generally able to find a home and investors receive a decent return,” added Raimondo. “Within Melbourne there is a clear trend of higher vacancies the closer to the suburb is to the CBD.”

According to REIV figures, suburbs within 4km of the Melbourne CBD recorded a vacancy rate of 2.7%, which matched December’s figure. The band of suburbs within 4-10km of the CBD recorded a vacancy rate of 2.6% – up from 2.1% in December.

“The middle suburbs have recorded a substantial easing from 1.2% to 2.2%,” said Raimondo. “Vacancies in the outer suburbs have tightened from 2.1% to 1.6% per cent.”

How do Melbourne’s property investment prospects compare to those of its regional counterparts? Have your say in our property investment forum.

More stories:

Lucky country lacking housing

Housing affordability improves

Revealed: the suburbs property professionals tip to boom