Sydney's inner-city rental markets continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, with vacancies still trending higher, according to the latest market update from the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).

Sydney's overall vacancy rate increased to 4.3% in October. This was due to the inner-ring region's vacancy rate going back to its all-time high of 5.8%.

“After a 0.6% drop in August, vacancies have again been on a steady rise in the inner city, indicating that the COVID-19 fallout is far from over for landlords," said Tim McKibbin, CEO of the REINSW.

The vacancy rate in outer region also increased, from 2.1% to 2.6% in the month. Only the middle-ring region bucked the uptrend, with its vacancy rate dropping from 5.5% to 4.9%.

On the other hand, vacancies across regional New South Wales remained tight.

"From the earliest stages of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw tenants relinquishing their properties in favour of more affordable options in suburbs more distant from the popular metro hubs and, in fact, even further afield into regional areas," McKibbin said.

McKibbin said the uptrend in Sydney's vacancy rates and the tightening in regional areas are not showing any signs of abating.

"What’s clear is that COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the residential rental market across New South Wales and this is something that’s unlikely to change in the coming months," he said.