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Most of New South Wales has seen a small decrease in the vacancy rate. Image: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels
  • Vacancy rate rose from 3.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent in Sydney during January
  • Vacancy rate dropped in the Illawarra and Hunter regions
  • REINSW CEO believes vacancy rates will tighten across the State

The REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey for January 2021 has shown rental vacancies across New South Wales have remained relatively stable over the New Year.

Sydney saw a slight increase in there vacancy rate to 3.6 per cent compared to 3.3 per cent in December 2020.  This is less than the 5 per cent vacancy rate seen in July 2020 – the highest the rate has been in the past 12 months but above the 12-month low of 3 per cent seen in March 2020.

While there was this slight increase, according to REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin this is typically a pattern observed during summer.

“Families are making decisions to move ahead of the start of the new school year and university students are yet to converge on the city for another year of study,” he noted.

In January, The Inner Ring of Sydney saw a 0.4 per cent rise in vacancies to 4.8 per cent with the Outer Ring also rising by 0.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

However, the Middle Ring saw a 0.5 per cent decrease to 4.2 per cent.

Outside the capital, vacancy rates dropped in both the Illawarra region where it fell from 1.5 per cent to 1.1 per cent and the Hunter Valley decreased slightly by 0.1 per cent to 1.2 per cent.

The tightening of the vacancy rates in these regions follows the trend of many Sydneysiders swapping a metropolitan lifestyle for a more rural one.

“Demand for rental accommodation continues to outstrip supply in these areas, as tenants seize the opportunity to leave Sydney and secure a rental property more suited to both their budget and desired lifestyle,” Mr McKibbin said.

“From the earliest stages of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw tenants relinquishing their properties in favour of more affordable options in suburbs more distant from the popular metro hubs and, in fact, even further afield into regional areas.”

New England is the only region outside of Sydney that recorded a vacancy rate above 2 per cent; the vacancy rate lifted there by 0.4 per cent to 2.7 per cent.

Mr McKibbin believes the trend of tightening vacancy rates shows “no sign of abating” and he expects the impact of Covid-19 will continue to have a significant impact on the New South Wales market for the foreseeable future.

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