The number of rental vacancies nationally increased in the year to July, recording a vacancy rate of 2.3%, according to figures released by SQM Research. This result is indicative of the longer term trend of higher vacancy levels around the country.
Perth and Darwin’s vacancy rates have increased substantially over the past year, while Sydney and Melbourne have managed to remain very stable.
These figures are in line with the sentiment of landlords over the past year. SQM Research’s Asking Rents Index revealed that rental asking prices have only lifted by 0.7% for houses on a national level and 0.6% for units on a national level since this time last year. This reveals that the expectation of landlords has stagnated on a national level.
Darwin and Sydney were the only two capital cities to record substantial increases in asking rents, and Perth and Canberra both recording considerable decreases during the same period.
“The rental market overall remains sluggish with asking rents showing rises of just 1.2% to 1.7% at the average capital city level. Perth rents have dragged down the overall result. It’s quite clear rents in Western Australia are falling quickly," SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said.
“Given our view that vacancy rates are likely to rise from these levels we are expecting a soft rental market for quite some time and certainly, well into 2015.”