Vacancies remain low across Australia. Image – Canva.
  • The second consecutive month the rate has been 1.6%
  • The lowest since Domain records began in 2017
  • Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra are close to multi-year lows

The national rental vacancy remains at 1.6% for the second consecutive month, according to Domain’s latest vacancy rates report for July.

This represents the lowest rate since Domain began collecting such records in 2017. A ‘balanced market’, where the number of available rentals matches demand, is usually considered to be around 3%.

Tenants appear to be operating in a ‘landlords market’, especially in Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin where vacancy rates are close to multi-year lows, which means rental prices could be pushed up further.

Last month, Domain revealed that national house rents have hit a record high – $477 per week.

Vacancy rates have also continued to decline in Melbourne and Sydney.

Domain suggests this is due to a shift in the population returning to the capital cities with tenants moving that have either experienced a decline in asking rental prices or areas where investors are selling up.

In Melbourne,  the number of vacant rentals has risen, pushing the vacancy rate higher following four months of decline.

The situation in Sydney is more complex given that the full effect on rental vacancy rates is unlikely to be felt until August, according to Domain’s research analyst, Dr Nicola Powell.

“The impact of extended lockdowns is likely to lead to a general rise in the number of vacant rentals across Sydney,” she said.

“Regions with a high composition of casual workers in non-essential settings are likely to see the brunt of higher vacancy rates in the coming months.”

Dr Nicola Powell, Domain

“It could mean some tenants under financial strain and uncertainty move out of existing rentals and into homes of family and friends to save money.”

The most competitive capital city rental market is still Hobart – suggesting no relief from high rents are on the horizon.

Rental markets also remain excessively competitive for tenants in outer city suburb areas such as the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Ranges in Melbourne, Sydney’s Blue Mountains and Wyong on the Central Coast.

SQM Research also correlates strongly with that of Domain – recording 1.7% last month.

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