Vacancies following seasonal trends

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Despite a slight rise in the number of vacancies, Australia’s national vacancy rate remained steady over November.

According to figures from SQM Research, vacancies in November rose to 71,737 from October’s 70,827, with the overall vacancy rate remaining at 2.3%.

Head of SQM Research Louis Christopher said the November movement was consistent with seasonal trends.

“Vacancies appear to be following the common seasonal trends expected at this time of year, where rental accommodation tends to become more available for a variety of factors,” Christopher said.

“The most predominant of these factors is the departure of University students from their regular rental accommodation over the long four month summer break,” he said.

For November, Hobart (0.8%), Sydney (1.7%), Adelaide (2%) and Canberra (2%) returned the best vacancy figures for the month, while Perth (3.9%) and Darwin (3.8%) returned the worst.

Figures for the 12 months to the end of November don’t paint a better picture for either Darwin or Perth.

A year ago Perth’s vacancy rate sat 2.5% while Darwin’s was 2.8%, with their annual increases easily making them the worst performing cities in that period.

On the other end of the spectrum the largest decreases over the year were in Hobart and Melbourne, with vacancies down 0.3%.

Sydney has seen its rate stay unchanged over the past year.

Source: SQM Research

The elevated vacancies in Perth and Darwin have also impacted their rents.

Darwin has recorded a fall in asking rents of 20.0% for houses and 13.7% for units for the past 12 months, while yearly falls have also been recorded in Perth, with asking rents down 7.6% for houses and 7.8% for units.

In contrast, Hobart recorded an 8% for houses and a fall of 1.3% for units. Asking rents in Melbourne and Sydney have also recorded modest rises for the same period.

“We note that 2015 overall has recorded another year of modestly rising vacancies. It suggests the supply side has been running a touch ahead of underlying demand at the national level,” Christopher said

“As we predicted back in October, I believe rents in 2016 will record only modest rises with the outperforming areas likely to be the Gold Coast and Hobart.”

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