The national residential vacancy rate fell from 2.6% in April to 2.5% in May, shows data from SQM Research. Adelaide and Hobart each had a vacancy rate of 1.2% in May, making them the lowest among the capital cities. The year on year comparison reveals Perth (2.0%) and Darwin (2.3%) had lower vacancy rates compared to the same time last year. Over the month, vacancies rose by 0.3% in Melbourne and 0.1% in each of Sydney and Canberra. SQM Research’s managing director Louis Christopher said vacancy rates had dropped across Brisbane, Perth, Darwin and Hobart, which had pulled the overall national rate down.

These capitals had also recorded some rises in asking rents for houses, while Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra saw a drop in rental prices. Christopher says the lack of international and interstate holidaymakers, as well as the hiatus of international students, has contributed to the rise in vacancies in those cities. Christopher says vacancy rates would likely fall in the coming months as restrictions ease