Cost of living shortens rental availability, REINSW says

By Kyle Robbins 28 April 2022 | 1 minute read

Cost-of-living increases have been attributed as a key factor behind NSW’s low residential vacancy rates, the REINSW finds.

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The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) has released the results from its monthly vacancy survey results for March, with the data indicating that vacancy rates in Sydney and the Hunter held firm, while the Illawarra saw vacancy rates almost halve.

Four months of steadily decreasing vacancy rates in Sydney finally ended after the NSW capital reported a 0.1 per cent rise in vacancy rates from 2.1 per cent in February to 2.2 per cent in March. The overall rise in vacancy rates comes as Sydney’s outer and middle rings both reported increases in March, while the inner ring experienced a slight decrease.

“After dropping for four consecutive months, the vacancy rate for Sydney overall rose slightly by 0.1 per cent last month to be 2.2 per cent,” REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said. “Both the middle and outer rings saw increases to be 2.7 per cent (+0.3 per cent) and 1.7 per cent (+1.2 per cent) respectively. Vacancies in the inner ring decreased by 0.2 per cent to be 2.6 per cent.” 

Outside of Sydney, finding a rental continues to present a challenge, with vacancy rates across many major regional centres reporting a decrease throughout March, with the Illawarra and the Hunter both seeing their vacancy rate decrease.

“In Newcastle, vacancies fell by 0.4 per cent to be 1.9 per cent and the Hunter region overall dropped to 1.0 per cent (-0.2 per cent),” Mr McKibbin stated. “While the rate for Wollongong rose by 0.3 per cent to 0.7 per cent for the month, a sharp decrease in vacancies across the rest of the region saw the Illawarra record a result of just 0.6 per cent, which is down from 1.1 per cent in February.”

Across the rest of regional NSW, vacancy rates remained low, with only the South Coast reporting a vacancy rate of above 2 per cent.

“Rates for the Central Coast, Mid-North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern Rivers and South Coast areas all rose,” Mr McKibbin said. “The Albury, Central West, Coffs Harbour, New England, Riverina and south-east areas all recorded drops.”

Mr McKibbin concluded by detailing the impact the rising cost of living has had on statewide rental shortages, which has culminated in investors selling their properties to afford necessities such as household bills.

“With the cost-of-living continuing to rise, our member agents are telling us about mum and dad investors who are selling their hard-earned investment properties just to pay their bills each month,” he stated.

“With so little stock on the market, these properties are being snapped up by home buyers. The flow-on impact is the removal of these properties from the residential rental market.”

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Cost of living shortens rental availability, REINSW says
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