Larry Schlesinger | 20 November 2012

Sydney has entrenched tight rental market crisis but vacancy rate eases in Hunter and Illawarra: REINSW

The Sydney rental market tightened noticeably over October, with the vacancy rate falling 0.6 percentage points to 1.9%, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) vacancy rate survey.

It was the second consecutive month that the Sydney vacancy rate has tightened after the middle and outer suburbs reached a balanced market position of 3% in August.

The vacancy rate is tightest in the inner-city suburbs (within five kilometres of the CBD), where the vacancy rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to just 1.6%.

However, the rental market is also tight in the middle suburbs (2.1%) and outer suburbs (2.2%) of Sydney, which recorded greater falls of 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points respectively, indicating a growing number of people seeking more affordable rental accommodation further out of the city.

In contrast the vacancy rate eased in the major regional rental markets – the Hunter and the Illawarra – though both still favour landlords over tenants.

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The Newcastle vacancy rate rose slightly from 1.4% to 1.6% but remains as tight as the inner-Sydney market.

The rental situation in Wollongong eased markedly over October from 2.1% to 2.6% but is still well below the 3.4% vacancy rate in August.

REINSW president Christian Payne says that despite recent increases in some areas, “tenants will find it difficult to secure a property in the foreseeable future”.

“The government needs to incentivise investment in this critical area as a way to tackle the rental crisis that is now entrenched in NSW.

“Action is required to stimulate investment in the residential property market. Until we see such action, there will be continue to be growing numbers of people competing for a smaller number of properties.”

Across NSW, Coffs Harbour had the highest vacancy rate in NSW at 3.6%, but did experience a fall of 0.1 percentage point fall over October.

The vacancy rate almost doubled in rural Murrumbidgee from 0.8% to 1.4%, but it remains the area in NSW with the lowest vacancy rate.

The results are based on survey responses covering 137,532 residential rental properties.

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