December sees seasonal uptick in vacancy rates

Asking rents also increased, SQM Research data shows

December sees seasonal uptick in vacancy rates


By Mina Martin

National vacancy rates in Australia increased to 1.3% in December, up from 1.1% in November, with the total number of vacant residential properties nationwide now at 39,797, up from 33,471 the previous month, according to SQM Research’s latest report.

Vacancy rates across cities

In major cities, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane saw expected increases of 0.2-0.3%, a norm for December. Adelaide displayed some seasonality with a modest 0.1% rise, highlighting the tight rental conditions in the city.

Hobart, Perth, and Darwin, meanwhile, despite lacking pronounced seasonality, saw slight increases of 0.1%, with rental conditions remaining remarkably tight in all three cities.

Canberra experienced the most significant change, with a 0.38% increase in vacancy rates, aligning with the typical patterns seen in December.

In CBD areas, Sydney recorded a 5.6% vacancy rate, Brisbane reached 3.2%, and Melbourne remained steady at 5.1% over the month.

“While all capital cities (except Hobart) showed an increase in vacancy rates, Sydney and Canberra led the race, increasing by 0.3% from November,” said Harry Bawa (pictured above), head of property and business analytics at SQM Research.

“The CBD regions showed the greatest movement as overseas students returned home at the end of semester. And there were very small increases for Adelaide, Perth, and Darwin, showing that rental conditions remain tight.

“Hobart isn’t impacted by the seasonality in December. It went the opposite direction with the rental market tightening further in December, however slightly.”

Rental market dynamics

Over the 30 days to Jan. 15, asking rents in capital cities increased by an additional 1.3%, contributing to a 12-month rise of 14.2%, SQM Research reported.

Nationally, rents across all regions rose by 9.9% during the same period. The national median weekly asking rent for a dwelling is now at $611.38. Sydney leads with the highest weekly rent for houses at $1,022.35, while Adelaide offers the most affordable rental units at $450.21 per week.

“Despite a few more properties coming into the rental market, asking rents rose nationally. Every capital city showed an increase month-on-month, except Canberra,” Bawa said.

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