Towns across regional New South Wales saw vacancy rates plummet in April, new data from the Real Estate institute of New South Wales (REINSW) shows.
The most drastic declines were in Wollongong, where vacancies hit a three-year low.
The number of available rental properties fell by 0.8 per cent over the month of April, to an overall rate of 1.5 per cent.
Across the wider Illawarra region, rates fell by 0.5 per cent so that 1.6 per cent of rentals are currently available.
REINSW president Malcolm Gunning said more people were choosing to move to the region from Sydney due to its affordability.
“Wollongong is an attractive proposition for those who wish to relocate from Sydney,” he said.
“Its beachside location is a more affordable option for those who are seeking a more relaxed lifestyle, and this is putting pressure on the number of properties available.”
In addition, both the Northern Rivers and Albury regions saw rates drop by 0.5 per cent over the month, to overall vacancies of 1.6 and 1.5 per cent respectively.
“They represent the two lowest vacancy rates in the state,” Mr Gunning said.
The South Coast region fell by 0.3 per cent while New England was down 0.1 per cent.
Although Newcastle availability rose by 0.5 per cent, to a total of three per cent, the Hunter region as a whole fell by 0.1 per cent.
Mr Gunning urged the state government to take a “holistic approach” to housing issues.
“It is not isolated to Sydney,” he said.
Nonetheless, several of New South Wales' country areas bucked the overall trend.
The Central West saw rates rise by 1.5 per cent, to a state-wide high of 4.9 per cent.
Coffs Harbour, meanwhile, underwent a 0.2 per cent rise, to an overall rate of four per cent.