RENTERS face tougher competition to find a home, with the number of vacant rental properties in Melbourne falling again, hitting the lowest point in about seven years.
The vacancy rate slipped to just 1.5 per cent in May, SQM Research data reveals. This compares to 1.6 per cent in April and 1.9 per cent at the same time last year.
SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said the numbers reflected tight rental markets in the nation’s biggest cities, where renters battled fierce competition to find a home and faced higher rents.
“Significantly, the vacancy rate remains at a very low level in Melbourne despite new apartment supply coming on to the market,” he said.
“This reflects the fact that population growth rates have been running in excess of expectations, absorbing extra stocks levels.”
SQM’s calculations of vacancies are based on online rental listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more compared to the total number of established rental properties.
At the same time as vacancy rates have been dropping, asking rents have been on the rise.
“The trend is still up for unit asking rents in Sydney and Melbourne over the year, which are rising well above the inflation rate, given a shortage of rental properties,” Mr Christopher said.
Annually, asking rents for houses in Melbourne rose 5.9 per cent but were down by 0.6 per cent over the month to June 20.
Unit asking rents rose 0.6 per cent over the month to June 20 and 5.7 per cent over the year.
The asking rent for a three-bedroom house in Melbourne now sits at $510 and for units it sits at $399.