Perth faces rental squeeze

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Steven Cross

Perth’s residential vacancy rate dropped to 1.6 per cent in February, its lowest level in more than four years, according to new data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

This is the lowest the residential vacancy rate has been since 2007, and was down from 2.8 per cent at the end of last year.

The tightening in the market has seen the median rent for units, apartments, villas and townhouses increase by $10 to $390 per week.

Although rental prices for multi-residential dwellings had gone up, houses remained steady at $420 per week, said REIWA president David Airey.

“The fall in the vacancy rate is not surprising as we have seen the volume of property listed for rent fall 24 per cent since the start of the year, from 2,900 homes to 2,200 at the end of February,” Mr Airey said.

Mr Airey said the rental pressure was coming from those who were opting to rent rather than buy, and from the growing demand for accommodation from new migrants flowing into WA, which has consistently had the fastest growing population in Australia since 2006.

“The long term equilibrium vacancy rate in Perth is three per cent and the lowest point we have recorded was just 0.8 per cent in the March quarter of 2007,” Mr Airey said.

Earlier this month SQM Research reported that Perth’s residential vacancy rate in January dropped to 0.6 per cent.

SQM bases its figures on online rental listings that have been advertised for three weeks or more compared to the total number of established rental properties.

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