Melbourne vacancy rates surge to 11.8% as city slickers flee

author-avatar By on February 03, 2021
Melbourne vacancy rates surge to 11.8% as city slickers flee

Rental markets in regional Australia have become increasingly competitive with supply drying up as city dwellers escape Melbourne and Sydney.

According to Domain, vacancy rates in inner-city Melbourne are at new record highs of 11.8%, as the city's rental market continues to feel the effects of prolonged COVD-19 lockdowns.

Melbourne's vacancy rate has now more than doubled compared to the same time last year at 4.6% in January - the highest of all the capitals according to Domain rental vacancy data released today.

The estimated number of vacant rentals in Melbourne has risen an astonishing 157.3% year-on-year, at just under 26,500 empty rentals. 


Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.


Domain's Senior Research Analyst Dr Nicola Powell said inner-city areas continue to have the highest vacancy rates.

"Renters may have the best chance of finding a new home in the Victorian suburbs of Whitehorse (West), Stonnington (East & West) and Melbourne City as these saw the highest rise in properties available for rent," Dr Powell said. 

Highest vacancy rates across greater capital city areas – January 2021

Rank Sydney Melbourne Brisbane & Gold Coast Perth Adelaide
1 Parramatta, 4.8% Melbourne City, 11.8% Brisbane – Inner, 4.3% Perth City, 1.4% Adelaide City, 5.0%
2 Auburn, 4.2% Stonnington – West, 8.3% Sherwood – Indooroopilly, 4.3% Cottesloe – Claremont, 1.1% Holdfast Bay, 0.8%
3 Strathfield – Burwood – Ashfield, 4.1% Stonnington – East, 8.1% Brisbane Inner West, 3.6% South Perth, 1.1% Norwood – Payneham – St Peters, 0.8%
4 Pennant Hills – Epping, 3.8% Whitehorse – West, 7.6% Nathan, 2.7% Canning, 1.0% Prospect – Walkerville, 0.7%
5 Hornsby, 3.8% Boroondara, 6.5% Mt Gravatt, 2.5% Belmont -Victoria Park, 0.8% Burnside, 0.6%

Source: Domain

Meanwhile, the rental market in Sydney has remained fairly flat over the year to end-January with a vacancy rate of 2.9% - the second highest of all the capital cities. 

"Strong exposure to international border closures in Melbourne and Sydney will ensure significantly less demand for rentals for the foreseeable future, at least until international border restrictions are lifted," Dr Powell said.

The areas with the biggest rise in rental vacancies were Strathfield-Burwood-Ashfield, Kogarah- Rockdale, Auburn, Marrickville-Sydenham-Petersham and Eastern Suburbs-South.

Sydney-siders looking for a rental would have the most luck in Parramatta, with vacancy rates of nearly 5%. 

See also: The rise of regional property in COVID-19

During the September quarter, a net 7,782 people left Sydney with three fifths of those moving to a regional part of NSW, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Melbourne lost a net of 7,445 residents while the combined capital cities had a net loss of 11,200 people to regional areas - the biggest quarterly net loss on record.

The exodus from the capital cities to regional areas can also be seen in the Domain data. Nationally, vacancy rates slipped to 1.9% in January - the lowest vacancy rate since March 2020 just before the pandemic.

Capital city rental vacancy rates – January 2021

City Jan-21 Dec-20 Jan-20 Monthly change Annual change
Sydney 2.9% 3.9% 2.9%
Melbourne 4.6% 5.4% 1.9%
Brisbane 1.6% 1.9% 2.3%
Perth 0.7% 0.9% 2.4%
Adelaide 0.6% 0.7% 0.9%
Hobart 0.4% 0.5% 0.6%
Canberra 0.9% 1.4% 1.6%
Darwin 0.8% 1.1% 4.2%
National  1.9%  2.4% 2.0%

Source: Domain 

Dr Powell said it's pretty normal to see these kinds of figures at the start of a New Year.

"It is typical for the rental market to tighten in January following a seasonal boost of supply over December," she said. 

"The end of the year marks the rental changeover period, as leases expire and choice lifts, before strong rental demand in January significantly reduces vacant rental listings in anticipation for the new year."

City slickers looking for a tree or sea change will have to battle it out for a rental property: the most tightly held regions in Australia continue to be scattered across smaller capital cities and lifestyle regions.

Lowest  vacancy rates across capital city areas – January 2021

Rank Sydney Melbourne Brisbane & Gold Coast Perth Adelaide
1 Wyong, 0.3% Mornington Peninsula, 0.3% Nerang, 0.2% Wanneroo, 0.2% Marion, 0.2%
2 Camden, 0.3% Yarra Ranges, 0.4% Coolangatta, 0.2% Kwinana, 0.3% Port Adelaide – East, 0.2%
3 Gosford, 0.4% Cardinia, 0.5% Caboolture Hinterland, 0.3% Stirling, 0.4% Gawler – Two Wells, 0.2%
4 Blue Mountains, 0.5% Nillumbik – Kinglake, 0.5% Broadbeach – Burleigh, 0.3% Swan, 0.4% Tea Tree Gully, 0.2%
5 Richmond – Windsor, 0.6% Casey – South, 0.7% Strathpine, 0.4% Gosnells, 0.4% Playford, 0.3

Source: Domain


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

Latest Articles

author-avatar
Emma Duffy joined Savings.com.au as a Finance Journalist in 2019 after spending a year as the editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She's passionate about empowering people to make smart financial decisions and improve the financial literacy of Australians by translating complex finance topics into understandable, relatable content.

Collections:

Get free insights & tips monthly

By subscribing you agree to the Savings Privacy Policy

Loading data please wait...

{{returnData.productName}}

Overview

Current Rate

{{returnData.currentRate | percentage:2}}

Comparison Rate*

{{returnData.comparisonRate | percentage:2}}

Rate Type

{{returnData.rateType}}

Advertised Rate

{{returnData.advertisedInterestRate}}

Comparison Rate*

{{returnData.comparisonRate}}

Monthly Repayment

{{returnData.monthlyRepayment}}

Interest Type

{{returnData.interestType}}

Total Interest Rate

{{returnData.totalInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Base Interest Rate

{{returnData.baseInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Bonus Interest Rate

{{returnData.bonusInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Total Interest Rate

{{returnData.totalInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Introductory Rate

{{returnData.introductoryRate | percentage:2}}

Introductory Term

{{returnData.introductoryTerm}}

Base Interest Rate

{{returnData.baseInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Term

{{returnData.term}}

Advertised Interest Rate

{{returnData.advertisedInterestRate | percentage:2}}

Interest Frequency

{{returnData.interestFrequency}}


Fees and Features

Ongoing Annualised Fee

{{returnData.annualFee}}

Upfront Fee

{{returnData.upfrontFee}}

Offset Account

Redraw

Principal & Interest

Interest Only

N/A{{returnData.interestOnly}}

Max loan to value ratio (LVR)

{{returnData.maxLVR | percentage:0}}

Lump sum repayments

N/A

Additional repayments

Maximum Loan Term

{{returnData.maximumLoanTerm}}

Upfront Fee

${{returnData.upfrontFee}}

Ongoing Monthly Fee

{{returnData.ongoingFees}}

Early Repayment Fee Applies

N/A

Vehicle Types

{{returnData.vehicleType}}

Maximum Vehicle Age

{{returnData.maximumVehicleAge}}

Pre Approval Available

N/A

Online Application

N/A

Account Keeping Fee

{{returnData.accountKeepingFee}}

Minimum Monthly Deposit

{{returnData.minMonthlyDeposit}}

Linked Account Required

N/A

Interest Calculated

{{returnData.interestCalculated}}

Interest Paid

{{returnData.interestPaid}}

Online Application

N/A

ATM

N/A

EFTPOS

N/A

Account Keeping Fee

{{returnData.accountKeepingFee}}

Minimum Monthly Deposit

{{returnData.minMonthlyDeposit}}

Linked Account Required

N/A

Interest Calculated

{{returnData.interestCalculated}}

Interest Paid

{{returnData.interestPaid}}

Online Application

N/A

ATM

N/A

EFTPOS

N/A

Minimum Deposit

{{returnData.minDeposit | currency : '$' : 0}}

Upfront Fees

{{returnData.upfrontFee | currency : '$' : 0}}

Annual Fees

{{returnData.annualFee | currency : '$' : 0}}

Notice Period to Withdraw

{{returnData.noticePeriodToWithdraw}}

Online Application

N/A

Automatic Rollover

N/A

Maturity Alert

N/A