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Vacancy rise eases market

Melbourne’s tight rental market is showing signs of easing, with vacancy rates for all metropolitan areas rising above 2 per cent for the first time in six years.

An apartment boom in the city - 65 per cent of all projects launched since 2008 are under construction - has helped boost the CBD vacancy rate to 2.5 per cent.

A year ago the vacancy rate was just 0.9 per cent and renters were competing with queues of property applicants at house inspections and bidding up rents to get a home.

The latest Real Estate Institute of Victoria figures taken from a sample of 45,000 properties showed suburbs within a 10-kilometre radius of the city had a vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent. There was more pressure on renters in middle and outer suburbs, which had a slighter lower vacancy rate - the proportion of unlet dwellings to the total rental roll - of 2.1 per cent. ''It's still well below the three per cent needed for a balanced market but renters will hope it continues,'' REIV spokesman Robert Larocca said.

Landlords were also charging less rents, figures from Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors show. The median rent for Melbourne fell by 1.4 per cent to $360 in the June quarter, while rents for units remained steady at $350.

But while the burden on middle-class renters was easing, lower income tenants were still facing tough conditions, Tenants Union of Victoria spokesman Toby Archer said.

Source: The Age Domain