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Relief for Perth renters as vacancy rates rise

Perth renters might be starting to get some relief, with new data showing vacancy rates have risen for the first time in six months.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), Perth’s vacancy rate rose to 0.9 per cent in July, after recording some of the tightest conditions of anywhere in the country.

REIWA Chief Executive Officer Cath Hart said while the signs are positive for renters, there’s still some way to go before it gets back to what would be considered a healthy rate of between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent.

She said the last time Perth’s vacancy rate was at a healthy level was prior to Covid in September 2019 when it was 2.5 per cent.

“Perth has seen a sustained period of extremely low vacancy rates, sitting below 1 per cent for 23 out of the past 36 months,” Ms Hart said.

“It dropped to a 42-year low of 0.6 per cent in December 2022 and has been 0.7 per cent for the first six months of the 2023.

“This month’s result is a move in the right direction, but it is still very low and vacancies are still filling quickly.”

Ms Hart said there are now signs of improvement as more stock comes onto the market thanks to more new homes finally being finished.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen investors leave the market in significant numbers,” she said. 

“In addition, delays in the building industry have disrupted the natural turnover of the market, forcing tenants who were building a home to remain in their rental properties for longer than originally intended. 

“However, recently our members have been reporting more tenants moving out into their long-awaited new homes and this has been freeing up some supply.” 

She said there has also been strong interest from Eastern States investors who see value in Perth prices and strong rental yields. 

“This is slowly adding to supply as well,” she said.

“Some developers are also noting that Eastern States investors are buying blocks of land, however if they plan to build this will take some time to flow through to the rental market.”

Ms Hart said greater legislative certainty, following the State Government announcement on the Residential Tenancies Act in May, was also supporting investor confidence.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.