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Vacancy rates slip in all capital cities but Hobart

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Vacancy rates have slipped for the second month in a row, with Hobart the only capital recording an increase of 0.2 per cent.

New data from SQM Research shows the national average fell to 1.7 per cent, which strains the already excessively tight rental markets.

Hobart is breaking the trend and slowly increasing in vacancies, with rates increasing from 1.0 per cent to 2.3 per cent over the past 12 months.

Melbourne still has the highest vacancy rate, but also witnessed the biggest drop after falling 0.5 per cent. However, the Victorian capital has been oversupplied for several months.

The report states, “This may come as good news for landlords, with the city’s vacancy rate coming down to 3 per cent, a figure seen by SQM Research to be at equilibrium.”

Perth vacancies stayed at a comparatively low 0.6 per cent. However listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more, when compared to the total number of established rental properties, dropped by more than a hundred from 1,084 in January, to 973 in February.

However, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), the vacancy rate of Perth was much higher, at 1.6 per cent. The report also claimed this was the lowest vacancy rate experienced in Perth for more than four years.

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research says “We particularly note conditions in Perth have now swung heavily in favour towards landlords and we are now expecting rents to rise in Perth by at least 5 per cent for this year.”

However Phil Davies of Century 21 Rockingham says he can’t remember a time the markets have been in a worse state.

“We had 82 separate groups looking at the same property… We have over 700 rental properties we manage, but we only have four available ones at the moment.”

“Times are tough,” he told Smart Property Investment. “We need to give investors more of a tax break. The Government should be encouraging people to buy houses,”

Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra all dropped by 0.1 per cent, while Darwin and Brisbane both slipped by 0.2 per cent.

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