The share of unoccupied rental properties across capital cities increased in October, with one city putting an upwards pressure on the overall vacancy rate, according to the latest report from SQM Research.

The vacancy rate in the month increased to 2.1%, as vacancies hit 74,221. While most capital cities reported stable vacancy rate during the month, Melbourne clocked a significant increase, up from 3.8% to 4.4%.  This makes Melbourne the capital city with the highest vacancy rate across Australia. Within the city, the central business district had the highest rental vacancy rate at 10.6%.

Sydney also reported a slight gain in vacancy rate, from 3.5% to 3.6%.

The table below shows the vacancy rates in each capital city:

Vacancy rates remained elevated across capital cities, with Melbourne reporting the biggest uptick.

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research, said rental vacancy rates remain elevated in the larger cities while regional locations continue to post near-zero levels.

"I believe the ongoing phenomenon, which started on the outset of the lockdowns, will in part reverse out once coronavirus is behind us. But we are not there yet and there is also a large possibility that there will only be a part reversal, as I believe many have used the COVID-19 outbreak as a catalyst for a longer-term lifestyle change," he said.

As vacancy rates remained elevated, rents continued to plummet, particularly in inner-city locations.

"For those who will be coming back to inne-city living, there are some bargains to be had," Christopher said.

The table below shows the changes in rents across capital cities:

Rents were still lower compared to last year, with Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart reporting declines in both housing and unit segments.