Melbourne vacancies surge to record high

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see fewer people per dwelling at this point in time, which might help reduce vacancy rates in the CBDs,” Mr Christopher said.

“Rents have become affordable in many areas, which may entice share house renters to be on their own. I think there’s a little bit of that going on in some of the cities.”

By contrast, rental markets in the regions have tightened further, highlighting the ongoing shift away from inner suburban living into areas offering more room and cheaper accommodation.

Vacancy rates in the Blue Mountains and Mornington Peninsula shrank to just 0.7 per cent each, the lowest level on record for both locations.

Ipswich, in Brisbane’s west vacancy rate tightened to 0.9 per cent – also a record low for the area.

Asking rents soar in the regions

Asking rents fell across most capital cities led by Hobart units dropping 4.3 per cent for the month.

Darwin recorded the highest rental growth in the country – up 6 per cent for houses and 1 per cent for units.

Across all capitals, asking rents for houses fell 1.1 per cent and down 0.7 per cent for units.

Over the past 12 months, Sydney house rents have fallen 8 per cent and units 8.1 per cent. Rents for Melbourne units have dropped 6 per cent and houses 1 per cent.

By contrast, regional areas recorded large increases in rents amid strong demand and low rental supply.

Central Queensland racked up the sharpest rise in rents for the year– up 13.9 per cent for houses and 21 per cent for units.

Asking rents for houses in Cairns jumped 13 per cent and units by 1.4 per cent. Rents in the Murray Region climbed 11.8 per cent for houses, while unit rents rose 11.7 per cent.

“The shift towards regional living continues at pace, largely at the expense of higher inner city rental vacancy rates,” Mr Christopher said.

“I suspect there will have to be a high point in this move soon. However, I also suspect there will be a degree of permanency with the massive population shift.

Meanwhile Sydney and Melbourne rents continue to fall providing leasing opportunities for tenants who have chosen to stay in town.”

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