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Sydney kicks off 2020 with increase in rental vacancy

Sydney’s rental vacancy rates have hit 3.4 per cent, with more tenants choosing to live in the city’s middle and outer rings rather than the inner city suburbs.

According to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of NSW, vacancies across the city increased by 0.2 per cent during the month of December, with Sydney’s inner ring showing the most dramatic spike from 2.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said this suggested tenants were experiencing a rise in availability across the metropolitan areas, while in the middle and outer rings rates dropped, suggesting these areas were proving more popular with tenants.

“The increase in vacancies in inner Sydney shows tenants now have a lot more choice in many metropolitan areas,” Mr McKibbin said.

Elizabeth Bay, Cremorne, Edmondson Park and North Turramurra have returned some of the highest vacancy rates, all in excess of 7.75 per cent.

The most popular suburbs are Moore Park, Coogee, Erskineville, Mona Vale, Engadine and Smithfield, where vacancies are well under 2 per cent.

Mr McKibbin said rates have been steadily sitting above 3 per cent, so it looks like this trend is here to stay for now, especially as large numbers of new units continue to enter the market.

The Hunter
Outside Sydney, vacancy rates rose 0.3 per cent for December in the outer area of the Hunter, going from 1.6 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

Despite this, there was a tiny decrease in Newcastle from 2.6 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

The Illawarra
Vacancies in the Illawarra dropped by 0.2 percentage points to 2.7 per cent overall.

Though most outer regions in the Illawarra experienced an increase from 1.5 per cent to 2.9 per cent, Wollongong saw a large drop of 1.7 per cent in vacancies, settling at 2.6 per cent to round out 2019.

“Due to the devastating bushfires we are expecting to see fluctuations in the regional areas in particular in the Illawarra and South Coast areas,” Mr McKibbin said.

The other regions
Overall, other regions reported an increase in vacancy rates in December with the exception of Albury and the Mid-North Coast which reported small decreases.

The Central Coast saw the highest increase in rates jumping 1.6 percentage points from 3.5 per cent in November up to 5.1 per cent.

The South Coast also saw a rise in vacancies up from 2.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

Residential vacancy rate percentage
The REINSW Residential Vacancy Rate Report is based on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of REINSW member agents on the 15th of each month.

Carried out monthly, the research – a survey of REINSW member agents conducted by Survey Matters – collects the total properties on agency rent rolls, the number of properties that were vacant on the 15th of the month, and the postcode in which a majority of agents’ rental properties are located.

The suburb-level rates reported by agents are weighted based on ABS Census 2016 Dwelling Characteristics. The December report is based on survey responses covering 101,501 residential rental properties.

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