The vacancy rate in half of Australia’s capital cities fell during September, new figures show.

The figures from SQM Research show that vacancies fell in Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart during September; while the remaining capital cities saw their rates remain flat over the month.

Australia-wide, the national vacancy rate remained unchanged over the month.

Of the cities that recorded decreases over September, Darwin and Canberra recorded the biggest monthly falls of 0.2% each.

Vacancy rates fell by 0.1% in Hobart and Melbourne.

While they didn’t have the biggest falls over the month, the figures do show that Hobart and Melbourne have seen their rental markets tighten more than any other cities over the 12 months to September.

Over the year, Hobart’s vacancy rate has dropped by 0.4%, while Melbourne’s is down 0.3%.

Over the same time, vacancies have risen in every other capital city except for Sydney, whose vacancy rate hasn’t moved.

Over the year, Perth was home to the biggest vacancy rate increase, with the Western Australian capital’s rate rising from 2.5% to 3.7%.

Darwin also experienced a significant yearly rise in its vacancy rate, up 0.5% over the 12-month period.

Those increases haven’t helped landlords in those markets, with asking rents falling in Perth and Darwin.

Asking rents for Darwin are down 18.8% for houses and 15.1% for units over the past 12 months, while asking rents in Perth are down 7.5% for houses and 7.2% for units.

On the other hand, Hobart’s tightened vacancy rate has been a benefit for landlords, with the figures showing asking rents are up 17.6% units and 5.1% for houses.

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all saw modest rises to their asking rents over the year.