Vacancy rates remain below 1% in most major cities and regional centres across Australia, placing upward pressure on residential rentals. The latest data from SQM Research shows that vacancies were between 0.6% and 0.9% in October in five of the eight capital cities – Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin. Brisbane was a little higher at 2%.

The exceptions to the low-vacancy trend are Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne rose from 3.8% in September to 4.4% in October, reflecting the exodus of residents to regional areas to escape the city’s restrictions. Sydney vacancies rose from 3.5% to 3.6%. In regional Australia, most significant cities and towns have vacancy rates well below 2%, with many under 1%.

SQM says house rents rose on average 2.1% in the capital cities in the past month, headed by a 4.2% monthly rise in Darwin, as well as significant increases in Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. In annual terms, house rents have increased 5.1%, led by Perth and Darwin which have both increased 9.2%.