Melbourne’s vacancy rate fell in February, a move likely to ease landlords’ worries about oversupply but cause concern for renters.
The vacancy rate fell to 2.4 per cent, its lowest level since May 2011, but the downturn was not uniform, with data provider SQM Research warning central-city vacancies were still abnormally high. The vacancy rate for postcode 3000, the CBD grid, stands at 6.2 per cent.
Melbourne’s vacancy rate remains the highest of all Australian capital cities. Sydney’s is 1.6 per cent, Canberra and Brisbane’s are 2.1 per cent and Perth’s is 1.9 per cent. A rate between 2 per cent and 3 per cent is considered normal.
The number of homes for rent in Melbourne’s popular inner-city suburbs remains tight. North Fitzroy recorded 1 per cent, Richmond was 1.6 per cent (vacancies fell over four of the past six months) and in St Kilda it nearly halved over the same period to 2.4 per cent.
The city now appeared to have absorbed the huge glut of homes built in the outer suburbs during 2010 and 2011, SQM’s Louis Christopher said.
Rents were relatively stable despite the fall. The median rent for houses was now $462 a week. Units had a median of $351 a week.