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A tale of two cities: Sydney vacancies rise while Brisbane rental market tightens

Brisbane’s rental vacancy rates are continuing to tighten, but it’s a different story in Sydney, with vacancies rising to 4 per cent last month.

First-quarter data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland has revealed almost 78.9 per cent of the state’s market remained static or experienced a reduction in the number of homes available for lease. 

According to the REIQ’s March-quarter vacancy report, 70.2 per cent of the state’s rental vacancies are at less than 1 per cent.

According to REIQ, vacancy rates in inner-city Brisbane dropped by 0.5 per cent to 2.8 per cent over the quarter.  

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said a huge influx of interstate migrants had pushed Brisbane’s rental market “into uncharted territory, pushing vacancy rates down to their lowest levels since October 2012”.

“In fact, our capital has seen rental markets across the entire metropolitan area tighten quarter-on-quarter for the last four consecutive reporting periods, from Brisbane’s CBD out to the city’s outer rim,” Ms Mercorella said.


Meanwhile, the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales has reported that rental vacancies in the Harbour City reached their highest level since October 2020 last month. 

“Vacancies in Sydney’s inner ring increased to 4.5 per cent – a rise of 0.8 per cent for the month,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said. 

“Similarly, the middle and outer rings also rose by 1.5 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively to be 5.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent,” he added.

“Many REINSW members are reporting that the residential rental market has slowed again across Sydney.” 

Conversely, over the past 12 months, rental vacancies have now dropped to 2.4 per cent across the Brisbane local government area.

In the wider Greater Brisbane area, which includes Ipswich, Redland City, and Logan, vacancy levels have dropped to 1.1 per cent.

The Queensland capital’s southern bayside and nearby Redland City experienced some of the tightest vacancies, with Capalaba’s rate dropping to 0.2 per cent. 

Adjacent suburbs including Thorneside (0.3 per cent), Birkdale (0.3 per cent), Gumdale (0.4 per cent), Manly West (0.5 per cent), and Wakerley (0.4 per cent) were not far behind.

The REIQ report further found regional areas of the state were experiencing some of the biggest imbalances between demand and available rentals.

Maryborough, on the Fraser Coast, currently has a rental vacancy rate of only 0.2 per cent, with the Southern Downs at 0.3 per cent, and a 0.4 per cent rate recorded across the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, and Rockhampton regions.

“Meanwhile, the Gold Coast has tightened a further 0.3 per cent to reach a record low of 0.6 per cent in the last 15 years of data records,” Ms Mercorella said.

Rental vacancy rates also remain low in regional NSW, with Northern Rivers vacancy rates at 0.3 per cent. 

The Mid-North Coast, South East and Central East regions all recorded vacancy rates of 0.6 per cent, with Albury, Murrumbidgee, the South Coast, Orana, Riverina all reporting rates of less than 1 per cent for the month.

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Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson was the news editor for Elite Agent. He worked with the company from February 2020 to June 2020. For current stories, news alerts or pitches, please email