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Sydney is experiencing its highest rental vacancy rates in more than five years, while the availability of rental properties in Perth remained stable, new research has found.
After a hard slog in the Sydney rental market, consumers are starting to see a slight easing of pressure, however this could be short-lived according to Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) president Christian Payne.
"January and February are traditionally peak periods for change in the rental market across NSW as school leavers, university students and families changing jobs or schools settle into new properties,” Mr Payne said.
"Those looking to join the rental market or move properties from March onwards will find that availability could deteriorate sharply."
The January rental vacancy rate for the Sydney metropolitan area rose by 0.3 per cent to 1.9 per cent, the largest single increase since July 2010.
All areas of Sydney recorded increases in the percentage of rental properties available. The inner suburbs rose 0.2 to 1.7 per cent, while the middle suburbs increased by 0.1 to 2.1 per cent and the outer suburbs jumped by 0.4 per cent to 1.8 per cent.
Areas outside of Sydney also experienced a marked increase in available properties, with Newcastle climbing back from 1.1 per cent in December to reach 1.5 per cent and Wollongong experiencing a 0.2 per cent rise in availability to 2.3 per cent. However, vacancy rates dropped on the Central Coast (1.4 per cent from 1.6 per cent), the Central West (1.8 per cent from 1.9 per cent) and Orana (1.2 per cent from 1.5 per cent).
At the same time preliminary data by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has been released showing the quarterly vacancy rate infor the three months to January is sitting at 2.5 per cent.
This is the same rate as the revised figure for the December quarter of last year.
REIWA President David Airey said any talk of a rental crisis in Perth was exaggerated.
“The percentage of metropolitan rental properties available for lease was unchanged over the three month period as a whole, but did fluctuate a little for each calendar month,” he said.
“We did see the vacancy rate in December lift a bit to 2.8 per cent but this has subsequently fallen to 2.3 per cent for the month of January.
“The more notable feature is an 18 per cent fall in the number of properties available for lease which dropped from 2,800 at the end of December to 2,300 in mid February.”
Median rents in the three months to January remained unchanged from the December quarter, with units and villas renting for around $380 per week and houses renting for about $420 per week.
Mr Airey said that it was possible the vacancy rate might tighten further during this quarter, but the situation was nothing like the March quarter of 2007 which saw the vacancy rate plummet to just 0.8 per cent.