Australia feels rental vacancy squeeze

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Rental vacancies fell Australia-wide in February, with Canberra leading the pack as the most tightly-supplied market.

New figures from SQM Research have revealed that the national average vacancy rate fell to just 1.7% in February, down from 1.8% the previous month. Canberra had the lowest vacnacy rate at 0.4%, and Melbourne the highest at 2.4%

"Overall, these vacancy statistics reveal an ongoing tight rental market nationwide, with some cities recording tighter results than others," said SQM Research's managing director, Louis Christopher.

"This has been resulting in higher than average rental growth per annum as in the case in Sydney, where rents have grown on a compounded basis by 8.8% per annum for the past five years. With this type of vacancy rate result, it implies once again that this year we will see rents grow faster than inflation."

Sydney is one of the most keenly-watched cities in terms of vacancy rates, as an undersupply of rental properties and increasing demand due to affordability pressures combine to hike rents. SQM's research suggests that vacancy rates in the NSW capital remained stable between January and February. Christopher also told YIP that rental growth would not slow this year, and that it would significantly outpace capital growth for now.

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