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Vacancy rates remain at record low levels

The national vacancy rate remains at a record low 1 per cent with ​all capital cities continuing to operate in a ‘landlords’ market’, according to a new report.

Domain’s April Rental Vacancy Rate Report shows vacancy rates remained steady in April, but are down sharply from the 1.9 per cent recorded this time last year.

There was a slight increase in the number of vacant rental listings in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.

However, despite this increase, Adelaide and Hobart continued their run as the most competitive capital city rental markets, with vacancy rates still low at 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Vacancy rates in Sydney and Melbourne decreased, with Sydney’s vacancy rate at its lowest point since Domain records began, sitting at 1.4 per cent.

Melbourne’s rental market continued its recovery in April, with its rates the lowest since the start of the pandemic, now only 0.1 percentage points off March 2020 and 0.6 percentage points off the record low seen in 2018.

Canberra vacancy rates have increased for the first time since December 2021, up 0.2 percentage points in April, with available rentals recording the biggest increase out of the capitals, up 31.1 per cent.

Darwin’s vacancy rate is also low, remaining at 0.5 per cent, only 0.1 percentage points off a record low, while Perth saw a slight uptick in its vacancy rate to 0.5 per cent.

Rental stock still remains low annually and compared to March 2020 (except Melbourne) is continuing the recovery post-Covid.

With the exception of Sydney, all cities are sitting at record high asking rents with all capital cities seeing an increase in median rents for the first quarter of 2022.

Domain Chief of Research and Economics, Dr Nicola Powell said conditions continued to be tough for renters.

“All capital cities continue to operate in a landlords’ market this month, remaining tight and highly competitive for prospective tenants,” Dr Powell said.

“Many cities are sitting at record high asking rents with all capital cities seeing an increase in median rents for the first quarter of 2022 except Sydney houses which remain steady at a record high.

“The current conditions bolster the likelihood of future rent increases.”

In terms of vacancy rates within the cities, Perth had a number of areas that saw a sharp jump in rental listings including Fremantle and Mandurah.

Pittwater in Sydney also saw an uptick in rental stock.

The areas that continue to see a tighter rental market are led by Dural – Wisemans Ferry in Sydney, along with Whitehorse – West and Canterbury.

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Rowan Crosby

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