Sydney lockdown
Sydney lockdowns have hit the rental market hard. Image – Canva
  • Residential rental vacancy rate for Sydney was 2.6% in August
  • It was as high as 4.3% in April
  • Rentals remain tight throughout regional NSW

Residential rental vaccines have dropped once again in Sydney, according to the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).

The REINSW Vacancy Survey for August 2021 shows the rate at 2.6%, a 0.3% decline. This is significant, given the rate in April was 4.3%, and a ‘balanced market’ is usually considered to be around 3%.

The market has moved from a slight oversupply to being undersupplied.

The fall was driven by lower vacancies in Sydney’s outer and inner rings, which fell to 1.7% and 2.9%, representing a fall of 0.6% and 0.2% respectively.

In the Middle Ring, vacancies rose slightly by 0.1% to 4%.

Rental market hit by lockdowns

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said the residential market in Sydney has been hit hard by the pandemic, in contrast to the sales market which continues to hit record highs.

“The latest lockdown is biting hard, with businesses shut and people out of work,” he said.

“Our member agents are telling us about Mum and Dad investors who are selling their hard-earned investment properties to stay afloat.

“With so little stock on the market, these properties are being snapped up by home buyers. The flow-on impact is the removal of these properties from the residential rental market.”

Tim McKibbin, REINSW CEO

SQM Research shows the decline in residential vacancy rates across Sydney since peaking at 4% in May 2020:

Greater Sydney

Outside Sydney, Newcastle saw vacancies decline by 1.8% taking them to 2.2%, while Wollongong saw a 0.1% rise to 1.5%.

Nonetheless, vacancy rates across regional NSW continue to remain tight.

During August, rates dropped in the Central West, Mid-North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern Rivers, Orana and South Coast.

Riverina remained stable while Albury, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour New England and South Eastern areas all experienced a small rise in the availability of rentals.

Mr McKibbin added that it appears the “pandemic rollercoaster” is far from over for the residential rental market.

“The last 18 months have been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs across New South Wales, leaving landlords and tenants alike doing their best to respond to unpredictable market conditions.

“This unpredictability will likely continue as we see the impact of current lockdown conditions continue to trickle through to vacancy rate figures in the coming months,” he concluded.

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