Vacancy rates fall in all but one capital city

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Residential vacancies in Australia fell during February, but are still trending higher compared to seasonal trends usually observed at this time of year according to figures released yesterday.

The figures from SQM Research show Australia’s national vacancy rate fell by 0.2% to 2.3% over February, which means it is slightly higher than the 2.2% recorded in February 2015.

Across the individual capital cities, all markets except Hobart saw vacancies fall during February.

Vacancies in the Tasmanian capital remained steady at 0.9%.

Over February, Melbourne saw the biggest fall in vacancies, with its rate down from 2.5% to 2%.

Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Darwin all saw their vacancy rates fall by 0.2%, while Adelaide and Perth recorded falls of 0.1%.

Source: SQM Research
While falls were widespread over February, yearly figures paint a different story, with vacancies currently higher in Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Brisbane than they were a year ago.

Vacancies are currently lower in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart than they were 12 months ago.

Over the year Perth has seen the largest rise in vacancies, up 1.3%, while Hobart has seen the largest decrease, with vacancies down 0.4% year-on-year.

Head of SQM Research, Louis Christopher, said it appears the trend of vacancies being higher than seasonal norms will continue in the near future.

“Overall, there was a noticeable fall in vacancies for the month driven by Melbourne and Sydney. However, year on year vacancies are still edging up for the country and we think this will still be the trend going forward,” Christopher said.

“The cities and townships most exposed to the commodities downturn are causing this yearly rise. On the flip side Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra are all recording downward trends in vacancies now and this is resulting in upward pressure in rents for these three cities,” He said.

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