Sydney rental vacancies remain steady, despite regional fluctuations

The May REINSW Residential Vacancy Rate Report reveals a 0.2 per cent increase in vacancies across Sydney, from 3.2 per cent on 15 April, to 3.4 per cent on 15 May. Other key NSW reporting areas such as the Illawarra region saw a 0.5 per cent increase in the vacancy rate to 3.1 per cent, while the Hunter region saw a minor increase of 0.1 per cent after three months at 1.7 per cent.

REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin, says with vacancy rates increasing, tenants will have more choice.

“More properties are becoming available, partly driven by additional stock coming to the market and new developments,” he says.

Sydney data

Overall, Sydney experienced a 3.4 per cent vacancy rate in May, compared with 3.2 per cent in April. Inner Sydney saw a minor decrease of 0.1 per cent, from 3.2 per cent in April to 3.1 per cent in May. Outer Sydney experienced an increase of 0.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent, making it the highest vacancy rate across Sydney this month. Middle Sydney remained steady at 3.3 per cent for the second month in a row.

The Hunter region

Overall vacancy rates in the Hunter region remained steady. However, Newcastle saw a rise in vacancies of 0.3 per cent to 1.7 per cent after a substantial fall of 0.7 per cent between March and April. Vacancy rates in other areas in the region increased 0.1 per cent in April to 1.9 per cent this month.

The Illawarra region

The Illawarra region experienced a 0.5 per cent increase in rental vacancies, from 2.6 per cent in April to 3.1 per cent in May. Wollongong and other areas also saw sharp increases of 0.6 per cent to 3.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent to 2.9 per cent, respectively, between April and May.

Other regional NSW areas

Despite some major changes in other regional NSW areas, 75 per cent of the rest of NSW remained steady. The Riverina saw the largest increase in vacancies, from 2.0 per cent in April to 3.0 per cent in May. While the South Eastern region saw a 2.1 per cent decrease to 0.9 per cent due to seasonal fluctuations.


For the year ending May 2019, Sydney saw a 1.0 per cent increase in vacancies, from 2.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent. The Illawarra region has increased 0.7 per cent to 3.1 per cent and the Hunter has remained steady with an increase of only 0.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent.

The REINSW Residential Vacancy Rate Report is based on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of REINSW member agents on the 15th of each month. Carried out monthly, the research – a survey of REINSW member agents conducted by Survey Matters – collects the total properties on agency rent rolls, the number of properties that were vacant on the 15th of the month, and the postcode in which a majority of agents’ rental properties are located. The suburb-level rates reported by agents are weighted based on ABS Census 2016 Dwelling Characteristics. The May report is based on survey responses covering 125,799 residential rental properties.

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