Taylor Troeth, Property Journalist
First published 12 Jan 2024, 5:00am
A glimmer of hope may be on its way for renters in Sydney as vacancy rates start to climb.
New PropTrack data has revealed vacant rental properties increased slightly during December, now sitting at 1.37 per cent.
After a challenging 2023, with a lack of available rentals on the market continuing to drive prices up, experts say it could be the year that the market stabilises.
PropTrack economist Eleanor Creagh said a 2-3 per cent vacancy rate was considered normal, so the market – although slightly improved at the end of last year – was still “incredibly tight.”
“There was continued tightening throughout 2023, not as significant as the tightening we saw in 2022 but tenants will still be facing challenging conditions and really competing for what is available,” Ms Creagh said.
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Sydney’s rental market might improve in the new year, as more properties became available in December.
The busiest time of year for the rental market is February through March, with December tending to be slightly easier for prospective renters.
However, in 2022 vacancy rates continued to decline throughout December, suggesting there is some relief for the new year for Sydney renters.
“The silver lining is with rental market conditions deteriorating in 2022 and 2023 and the pace of net migration slowing a little, we could begin to see a period where they don’t deteriorate at the pace they have. They might start to stabilise,” she said.
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“That doesn’t take away from the fact that rental markets are still really tight and it will still be quite challenging for renters.”
Vacancy rates are the lowest in the Northern Beaches, sitting at 0.69 per cent, followed by Sutherland and The Central Coast at 0.79 and 0.96 per cent.
The Northern Beaches had the lowest amount of properties available on the Sydney rental market.
For renters looking to ditch the harbour city in hopes of an easier time securing a lease, the rest of the nation is also proving challenging.
Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide’s markets were the tightest with vacancy rates less than 1 per cent at 0.9, 0.73 and 0.69 respectively.
“When we look at purchasing other markets across the country they offer a price discount, and the same for rental prices, but when conditions are this challenging for available properties, it’s really pretty tough all over the country,” Ms Creagh said.
Rental vacancy rates December 2023. Source: PropTrack
While national vacancy rates rose slightly in December, they still declined 0.13 per cent in 2023.
Ms Creagh said the population increase had slowed slightly but there was still a need for more stock.
“We have seen a pick up in investor activity, but not where it needs to be, and there is a slow down in new homes being built,” she said.
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