Perth’s weak rental market is being exploited by tenants who are using current market conditions to move away from shared accommodation.

Analysis of leasing activity in Perth over the March quarter by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has revealed leased one-bedroom apartments increased 50% during the Mrach quarter, while leased two- and three-bedroom apartments increased 18%.

REIWA president Hayden Groves said the movements over the March quarter showed tenants are taking advantage of Perth’s current rental climate.

“There was a significant amount of leasing activity in the one to three bedroom market over the quarter, while four and five bedroom properties experienced a small decline,” Groves said.

“Affordability in Perth’s rental market has improved over the last 18 months, tenants who may have been living in shared accommodation are now finding that they can afford to move out on their own, which is why we’re seeing this shift to smaller households,” he said.

The uptick in the leasing of smaller properties over the March quarter helped the total number of rented properties in Perth increase 17% compared to the December quarter, which Groves said had been a positive for the city.

“While rental listings in Perth remain above the long term average, the number of properties leased in the March quarter has soared well above the growth of listings which is a real positive for the market,” he said.

“This has caused the vacancy rate to come down to 5.6 per cent in the March quarter from six per cent in the December quarter as tenants have soaked up stock.”

According to REIWA’s figures rents were stable in a large proportion of Perth’s sub-regions over the March quarter, while there were mixed results for average leasing days across the metro area. 

“The biggest improvement in average leasing days was felt in the Perth City, Fremantle and Western Suburbs sub-regions, while on average it took longer to lease a property in Joondalup South, Wanneroo North West and Wanneroo South in the March quarter than it did in the December 2015 quarter,”