Sydney vacancy rates
Sydney’s vacancy rate has lifted from last year. Photo – Canva
  • REINSW data shows Sydney's vacancy rate rising to more than 4%
  • SQM Research has it falling to 3.1%, but whatever you choose, it is relatively high
  • Outside Sydney, regional NSW is showing a very tight rental market

Amid a nationwide property boom, Sydney’s available properties for rent have actually been on an incline over the past few months, according to survey data from the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW).

After dipping to a more ‘normal’ 3.3% towards the end of last calendar year, they have been creeping upwards climbing to 4.3% for April 2021.

“This is an increase of 0.3% over the month for Sydney overall and is on the heels of the 0.9% rise we saw in March 2021,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said.

“The increase is attributable to higher vacancies in Sydney’s Outer Ring, where a 0.7% rise brought the rate to 3.2%.

“Feedback from REINSW members indicates that demand remains strong for houses in the outer suburbs. However, renting out units is proving more difficult, with rent reductions commonly required in order to attract tenants.”

Tim McKibbin, CEO, REINSW

“In contrast, vacancies in the Inner Ring dropped by 0.5% to be 4.0% and the rate for the Middle Ring remained stable at 5.8%.”

Meanwhile, data from SQM Research (see interactive chart below) has shown a slightly different rate, at 3.1% for April, down from 3.4% in March and from a relative high of 4% in May last year.

Sydney, since 2005

The REINSW calculate their rate on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of members on the 15th of each month.

SQM’s rental vacancy rates are based on all monitored and unique online listings for the period of a calendar month across major listings web sites. Only those listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more are used.

With slightly different measuring techniques, you will have slightly different results. SQM and REINSW do agree that Sydney’s vacancy rates are relatively high, with SQM showing them well below 2% for much of the previous decade.

Outside Sydney, rental vacancy rates remain “historically low”, according to the REINSW.

“Rates in the Albury, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, New England and South Coast areas all dropped in April,” Mr McKibbin said.

“The Murrumbidgee region remained stable for the month, while the Central West, Mid-North Coast, Northern Rivers, Orana, Riverina and South Eastern areas each experienced increases in the availability of rental accommodation.”

SQM Research data shows the same pattern. The chart for Central Coast (below) shows how rental vacancies collapsed to below 1% last year, and is currently 0.6%.

Central Coast, since 2005

[Select part of the chart to zoom in on various years, and ‘reset zoom’ button to return]

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