Vacancy rates in our already-tight rental markets fell in six of the capital cities and were unchanged in the other two in January, according to the monthly report from SQM Research.

The national average vacancy rate fell from 2.2% in December to 2% in January, but five capital cities – Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart – all have vacancy rates below 1%, while Brisbane sits at 1.7%. In regional Australia, many centres have vacancy rates below 1% in what represents a national rental crisis for people seeking tenancies.

The two biggest cities, where vacancies are highest, showed marked improvements in January, with Sydney falling from 3.6% in December to 3.2%, and Melbourne falling from 4.7% to 4.4%.

SQM’s Louis Christopher says the figures indicate the worse is over for landlords in Sydney and Melbourne. “The falls in those two cities, combined with the increased tightness in other cities and regions, has now brought rental vacancy rates down to below where they were prior to Covid19,” he says.