Rising vacancy rates offer a little relief for renters

Australia’s renters are finally getting some respite, with the national vacancy rate rising to 1.21 per cent in April.

According to PropTrack, the vacancy rate increased to 1.2 per cent in the capital cities and 1.23 per cent in the regions.

However, it is still 51 per cent lower than March 2020.

PropTrack Economist, Anne Flaherty, said despite the improvement there is still a long way to go for tenants.

“While vacancy eased in April, conditions remain incredibly tough for renters, with just 1.21 per cent of rental properties sitting vacant over the month,” Ms Flaherty said.

“This is less than half the level that is considered a healthy rate of vacancy.”

Perth and Canberra recorded the largest increase in vacancy rates over the month, both up 0.18ppt to 1.05 per cent and 1.56 per cent, respectively. 

For Perth, it was the first time since July 2022 that vacancy rose above 1 per cent. 

Hobart and Sydney followed for the second and third-largest increases in vacancy over April, rising 0.16ppt and 0.14ppt. 

Likewise, Melbourne’s vacancy rate eased, rising 0.09ppt to 1.23 per cent in April. 

Brisbane’s vacancy rate held relatively steady, rising just 0.03ppt over the month to 1.02 per cent, the second-lowest vacancy rate of all capital city markets. 

Adelaide recorded the lowest vacancy rate in April, with just 0.96 per cent of rental properties sitting vacant, despite seeing a rise in availability of 0.13ppt.

Ms Flaherty said Adelaide was currently the tightest market in the country.

“Adelaide has cemented its place as the most difficult city to find a rental and was the only capital to see its vacancy rate sitting below 1 per cent in April,” she said.

While, regional areas have seen the greatest deterioration in rental conditions over the past 12 months, with vacancy down 0.25ppt compared to a 0.15ppt drop in the cities. 

Ms Flaherty said tight conditions were still putting upward pressure on rents.

“With vacant properties scarce, homes that do come up for rent are continuing to see high levels of competition, which is driving rent prices higher,” she said.

“The situation for renters is similar across both capital city and regional areas, with each seeing vacancy at 1.2 per cent in April.” 

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