New data from SQM Research for October 2016 reveals that the number of national residential vacancies has fallen slightly, with 74,368 rental homes available. The national vacancy rate for October 2016 was 2.3%, down from 2.4% in September 2016.

Vacancy rates in capital cities

Sydney and Melbourne recorded vacancy rates of 1.7% and 1.9% respectively, down marginally from September 2016. Meanwhile, Brisbane’s vacancy rate rose slightly to 3.0%, up from 2.9% in the previous month. Brisbane was one of the few capital cities to record a rise, along with Darwin. Darwin’s October 2016 vacancy rate was 3.2%, up slightly from 3.1% in September 2016.  

Perth reported the highest vacancy rate at 4.9%, though it was down slightly from September 2016, when it was 5%. Hobart had the tightest vacancy rate at just 0.5%, down from 0.6% in the previous month.

Asking rents across capital cities  

Sydney remains the most expensive city for rents in the country. Asking rents in the Harbour City sat at $738 a week and $510 for units. In Canberra, asking rents increased to 9.3% for houses and 8% for units from a year earlier.

Despite a tight vacancy rate, Hobart continues to offer the most affordable rental accommodations, with houses costing just $356 a week and units averaging just $297 a week.

Perth has recorded falls in asking rents of 11% for houses and 10.7% for units over the past 12 months. Yearly falls have also been posted in Darwin, with asking rents down 2.5% for houses and 3.1% for units. In Brisbane, asking rents are down 1.8% for houses and up just 1.1% for units.

“Asking rents have slipped back in Brisbane as vacancy rates have continued to rise this year. At 3.0%, the rental market is finally favouring tenants and given the surge in new apartment supply, rents in Brisbane could continue to fall from here, particularly in the inner city,” said Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research.

“Vacancies are likely to rise in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney over 2017 as more new high-rise apartment developments come onto the market. However, we believe that oversupply will largely be limited to inner-city areas where apartment supply is rising the most, which will temper rental growth.”

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