The national vacancy rate declined to 2.2% in January, from 2.5% in December, an SQM Research report says. Four of the eight capital cities have vacancies below 2%.

The total number of vacancies Australia-wide dropped to 72,574 in January – 9,984 fewer properties are now available for rent compared to December.

All capital cities except Hobart experienced a decline in their vacancy rates in January. Although Hobart’s rate rose marginally, it still remains the lowest of all capital cities at 0.5%.

Canberra (0.9%), Adelaide (1.1%) and Melbourne (1.9%) also have low vacancies. Brisbane’s rate has dropped from 3.6% to 2.7% in the past year, while Perth’s has reduced from 4.4% a year ago to 3%. Sydney’s vacancy rate, although down in January, remains higher than a year ago and is still the second highest at 3.2%.

A decline in vacancies is expected in January, as December usually has higher seasonal listings. We expect another seasonal decline in vacancies in February,” says SQM’s Louis Christopher.