The Hunter region also saw a drop in vacancies from 2.1% to 1.3%. Wollongong and the rest of the Illawarra saw an increase in vacancies from 2.1% to 3.8%
The other regions of NSW reflected a general trend of decreasing vacancies, with only two of the 12 areas – South Coast and South Eastern, reporting an increase.
Of particular note, this month is the 11% decrease in survey response rates from property managers when compared to February. This is attributed to the disruption being caused by COVID-19, a trend that is expected to continue over the next few months as Property Managers are focusing on the volatile and uncertain rental landscape.
“We are in unchartered waters for the rental market”, says Tim McKibbin, REINSW CEO.
“There is a significant amount of uncertainty about the impact on rental vacancies arising from the fact that many renters are facing job losses or reduced pay.
“Notwithstanding the six-month moratorium on evictions, this will likely cause more tenancies to be given up: for example, by people moving in with other family members. Also, some short-term accommodation properties are now being listed as available for long term rentals. These two factors are increasing the supply of rental properties.
“I believe we will therefore see a rise in vacancies over the next few months.”
Residential vacancy rate percentage
The REINSW Residential Vacancy Rate Report is based on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of REINSW member agents on the 15th of each month. Carried out monthly, the research – a survey of REINSW member agents conducted by Survey Matters – collects the total properties on agency rent rolls, the number of properties that were vacant on the 15th of the month, and the postcode in which a majority of agents’ rental properties are located. The suburb-level rates reported by agents are weighted based on ABS Census 2016 Dwelling Characteristics. The March report is based on survey responses covering 98,946 residential rental properties.