Sydney’s vacancy rate shows positivity for areas hit hardest by pandemic

The rental market in Sydney’s Inner Ring suburbs recorded its best performance since the start of the COVID-19, with vacancy rates falling to 3.3 percent last month.

The REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey results for May 2021 signals some signs of recovery for a market hit hardest by international border closures, with fewer empty properties since the start of lockdown last year.

Vacancies in Sydney overall fell last month and now also sit at 3.3 percent – down 1.0 percent from April 2021.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said figures indicate more confidence about the economy and jobs market. Vacancy rates in Sydney’s Inner Ring fell 1.7 percent from the 4 percent recorded in April. They also dropped in both the Middle (4.6 percent) and Outer (2.5 percent) Ring suburbs falling 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

“While it is still very early days, this is a positive sign particularly for the Inner Ring which has endured a lacklustre performance during the past 12-months with no international students and tourism to boost vacancy rates,” Mr McKibbin said.

“There could be a few reasons behind it such as attractive rents, more people are slowly returning to the CBD to work or the influx of expats renting properties while looking to buy. It is good news for those with investment properties and an improvement from the peak 5.8 percent vacancy rate recorded back in June and October last year.”

Outside Sydney, both the Newcastle and Wollongong rental markets remained steady during May. Overall vacancy rates in the Illawarra region fell slightly to 0.9 percent – the lowest level the region has ever recorded since April 2016.

Across much of the rest of regional New South Wales, the number of available rental properties remained extremely tight with vacancy rates as low as 0.6 percent in the Mid-North Coast, Riverina, South Coast and South-Eastern areas.

“The only exception was Orana, which is made up of major localities such as Dubbo, Cobar and Mudgee, where vacancy rates increased to 3 percent – up from 1.3 percent recorded in the previous month,” Mr McKibbin said.

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 March 2021 report is based on survey responses covering 113,568 residential rental properties.

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