Vacancies across Sydney rose by 40 basis points, from 3.2% on Feb. 15 to 3.6% on March 15, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) Residential Vacancy Rate report.

Inner Sydney and Outer Sydney recorded a slight increase of 80 basis points and 40 basis points, respectively, while Middle Sydney had a vacancy rate of 3.1% – a drop of 50 basis points from the previous month.

 “The vacancy rate in Sydney’s Inner ring – areas such as Ashfield, Leichardt and Marrickville – increased in March due to lower demand and high supply. Sydney’s outer ring is also experiencing a similar situation. Feedback from real estate agencies in areas such as Baulkham Hills and Blacktown has been that old, dated units are harder to lease for the same price they had been getting previously, and landlords are unwilling to drop rental prices,” said REINSW President Leanne Pilkington

Sydney’s middle ring, on the other hand, is experiencing a slide in vacant properties. Real estate agencies in areas such as Strathfield and Parramatta reported that landlords in these areas have been willing to cut rents to gain tenants’ attention.

The Hunter region, another key NSW reporting area, posted steady results. Newcastle logged a vacancy rate of 2.1% in both February and March.  The vacancy rate in other areas of the region dropped by 10 basis points from February to 1.5% this month.

In the Illawarra region, Wollongong and surrounding areas reported a decrease of 20 basis points in rental vacancies, from 2.4% on February 15 to 2.2% on March 15.

REINSW also revealed that there were slight increases in six key areas: Central Coast (to 2.8%), Central West (to 2.0%), Coffs Harbour (to 2.1%), Mid-North Coast (to 2.8%), Orana (to 1.8%), and South Eastern (to 2.9%).

Rental markets in Albury (0.8% vacancy rate), Murrumbidgee (0.9%), New England (2.2%), and the South Coast regions (2.6%) posted rosier results, with vacancy rates decreasing by between 30 and 50 basis points this month.