The number of vacant rental properties in Australia climbed to over 70,000 during May according to figures from SQM Research.

SQM’s figures show the national vacancy rate rose to 2.4% based on 71,970 vacancies during May, up from the April figures of 2.3% based on 69,295 vacancies.

Across the capital cities, vacancy rates rose in all markets except for Sydney, Canberra and Darwin where rates were unchanged.

Darwin’s vacancy rate of 3.5% remains the highest in the country.

Perth saw the biggest month to month increase, with its vacancy rate rising from 3% to 3.4%.

Adelaide saw the second largest monthly increase, as rates went from 1.7% to 1.9%.

Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart all saw their vacancy rates record a .1% monthly increase.

Year-on-year figures show that Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart vacancy rates dropped in the 12 months April, with Canberra recording the biggest fall with a decrease of 0.4%.

Hobart saw its rates drop from 1.8% to 1.5% over the period, while in Melbourne there was a 0.1% fall.

Hobart’s decrease means it now has the lowest vacancy rate in the country.

Over the 12 month period Darwin saw the most significant increase, with vacancy rates up 2.1% since May 2014.

Perth saw a 1.1% increase over the year, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney all saw more modest increases.

Darwin also saw the most significant changes in terms of asking rents over the 12-month period, with a 13.5% decrease for houses and a 5.7% drop for units.

Perth also saw significant drops in asking rents, with houses down 6.6% and units down 4.8% over the year.

Across all the capital cities, asking rents increased by an average of 1.3% while units increased by an average of 0.5%.