Latest capital city rental data for apartments affirms the link between vacancy rates and rent increases. It seems a logical outcome of the working of supply and demand, however this is not always the case.

In the latest available data (March quarter of 2018) Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra experienced low rates of rental property availability and rapid increase in rental levels as the table below shows.

In contrast rent levels fell in Perth and Darwin where vacancy rates were well above those associated with market equilibrium.

Capital City Vacancy rate (%) Median Weekly Rents - March Quarter 2018
Annual % Change
Mar-18 2 Bedroom Apartments
Sydney 2.3
Melbourne 2.1 10
Brisbane 2.7 3.9
Adelaide Not available 3.4
Perth 5.1 -3
Canberra 0.5 7.1
Hobart 1.4 11.7
Darwin 6.5 -2.4

Sources: Real Estate Institute of Australia surveys of Real Estate Agent Property Managers / State Government Agencies based on rental bonds lodged.

NB: The vacancy rate refers to the % of rental properties available at a given time. A higher rate indicates greater choice for prospective renters, and downward pressure on rent levels. As a guide a 3% vacancy level is considered to provide market stability with no overall upward or downward pressure on rent levels.