National rental vacancy rates hit new low amid rising rents

Rents could stabilise from the June quarter, expert says

National rental vacancy rates hit new low amid rising rents


By Mina Martin

National vacancy rates dropped to 1.1% in January from December's 1.3%, leaving 32,108 residential properties vacant across Australia, a significant decrease from December’s 39,797, SQM Research has revealed.

Capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart have all seen reductions in their vacancy rates, with Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane CBDs experiencing notable drops to 4.5%, 3.8%, and 2.5%, respectively.

In conjunction with falling vacancy rates, capital city asking rents have surged by 1.4% over the 30 days leading up to Feb. 14, up 13.1% over the past year. The rise pushed the national median weekly asking rent for a dwelling to $614.54.

Sydney recorded the highest weekly rent for a house at $1,037.08, while Adelaide posted the most affordable unit rents among the capitals at $451.20 per week.

“Most likely the fall in rental vacancies was driven by increased demand from tertiary students following the start of campus semesters for 2024. As well as graduates entering the workforce for the first time,” said Louis Christopher (pictured above), managing director of SQM Research.

“It is a seasonal demand increase we see at the start of each and every year but is most certainly problematic due to the fact the current rental market remains in crisis.”

Christopher predicted that a slowdown in population growth to an increase of about 360,000 people this year could stabilise rents from the June quarter onwards. However, he warned of continued rental market strain if the population growth rate persists at current levels.

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