Regional areas feel rental vacancy squeeze

The Hunter region in NSW, which incorporates the city of Newcastle, reported a sharp fall in its rental vacancy rate in December, although tenants in Sydney had more properties to choose from in the same month.

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According to the latest rental vacancy data released by the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), the rental vacancy rate for Newcastle fell by 0.5 per cent on-month to 1.1 per cent in December. This followed a 0.3 per cent fall recorded in November.

The overall rental vacancy rate across the Hunter fell by 0.3 per cent to 1.1 per cent.

In Sydney, the December rental vacancy rate for the metropolitan area rose by 0.2 per cent to 1.6 per cent, the first increase in more than three months.

“While this increase is welcomed, history shows that it is seasonal,” the REINSW said.


The city’s outer suburbs (more than 25km from the CBD) recorded the lowest vacancy rate of 1.4 per cent, followed by suburbs within 10km of the CBD (1.5 per cent, up 0.3 per cent on November) and the middle suburbs at 2.0 per cent (up 0.3 per cent).

In Wollongong the vacancy rate fell by 0.1 per cent to 2.2 per cent, while across the entire Illawarra region the percentage of available properties declined 0.2 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

Vacancy rates on the Central Coast rose slightly, up 0.1 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

REINSW president Christian Payne warned the rental situation will only become tighter as we head into 2012.

Only yesterday, a report by Australian Property Monitors (APM) revealed rents had surged in some capital cities, including Sydney, and this was expected to continue.

“The New Year traditionally signals an increase in demand for rental properties across the board," Mr Payne said.

“The already low levels of available rental properties are likely to be squeezed even further as people return to work and schools and universities resume for the academic year.

“Unfortunately for those seeking rental accommodation, the situation will only become more difficult in the first quarter of 2012”, he said.

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