Australia’s rental market bucked seasonal trends during April according to figures released yesterday by SQM Research.

According to SQM research, Australia’s national vacancy rate increased 0.2% to 2.5% over April with 75,749 rental properties looking for a tenant.

The monthly national increase was largely driven by conditions in Perth, with the Western Australia capital seeing its vacancy rate increase 0.5% during April to 4.6%, the highest vacancy rate currently recorded across the country.

In Canberra vacancies rose 0.3% over the month to 1.4%.

Over April, vacancies rose 0.2% in both Melbourne and Brisbane, while Adelaide and Sydney saw increases of 0.1% during the month.

Vacancies in Canberra remained steady at 0.9%, while Darwin was the only city to see a monthly decline, down 0.2% to 3.4% over April.

In annual terms, the national vacancy rate is also 0.2% higher than it was in April 2015.

In the 12-period Perth has again seen the largest increase, with its vacancy rate up 1.6% over the year.

Over the year vacancies are up in Brisbane by 0.5%, while Adelaide has seen a 0.3% increase.

Canberra and Hobart are home to the largest annual falls, with their vacancy rates falling 0.5%, while vacancies are 0.1% lower in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin than they were in April 2015.

Source: SQM Research

Louis Christopher, head of SQM Research said the annual increase in vacancies came as a surprise, with Perth’s figures suggesting it is a market still in the grasp of a correction.

“Year-on-year results demonstrate that national vacancies appear to be slightly above the common seasonal trends expected at this time of year,” Christopher said.

“Perth continues to record an alarming number of vacancies, particularly when one considers the amount recorded this time last year,” he said.

“The vacancy rate for Perth is now at a record high based on our series. It is suggestive that the housing downturn in Perth has yet to bottom out and that rents, which are already well down from their peaks in 2012, still have further to fall.”

According to SQM Research, Darwin has recorded falls in asking rents of 8.4% for houses and 12.5% for units over the past 12 months.

Yearly falls have also been recorded in Perth, with asking rents down 8.4% for houses and a considerable 9.3% for units.

Hobart continues to record the most affordable rental accommodation with rents for houses at just $350 a week, while Adelaide recorded the most affordable unit rent, averaging $285 a week.