NSW regional vacancy rates on the rise

New data from the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) indicates record low vacancy rates across much of regional NSW are now starting to ease.

The REINSW Vacancy Rate survey results for April 2022 show residential vacancies for many regional areas increased in April.

Among those areas with higher vacancies over the month were Newcastle and the Illawarra.

“In Newcastle, vacancies rose by 0.5 per cent to be 2 per cent, and the Hunter region overall increased to 1.7 per cent (up 0.7 per cent),” REINSW Chief Executive Officer Tim McKibbin said. 

“And while the rate for Wollongong dropped by 0.3 per cent to 0.7 per cent for the month, vacancies for the Illawarra region overall rose by 0.7 per cent to 1.3 per cent.”

Mr McKibbin said while vacancy rates are still low, the majority of areas experienced a slight easing in the availability of residential rental properties. 

“Rates for the Central Coast, Central West, Coffs Harbour, Mid-North Coast, Murrumbidgee, New England, Northern Rivers and Riverina all rose over the last month,” he said.

“The Albury, South Coast and South East areas each recorded drops and Orana remained stable.”

While regional vacancy rates rose in April, vacancies across Sydney remain relatively stable, according to Mr McKibbin.

“While the vacancy rate for Sydney overall only increased by 0.1 per cent to be 2.3 per cent, the three rings fluctuated,” he said.

“The Inner Ring dropped by 0.5 per cent to be 2.1 per cent and the Middle Ring rose by 0.6 per cent to be 3.3 per cent. 

“The Outer Ring stayed steady at 1.7 per cent.”

Mr McKibbin said despite conditions easing slightly, there is still a shortage of rental properties across NSW.

“Landlords in competitive markets are being inundated with applications amid the shortage of available rentals,” he said.

“And, more and more, tenants are offering above the advertised price or up to a year’s rent in advance to secure a home.

“For tenants, in many areas, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack when trying to find a property to rent.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.