Where renters have more choice amid tough market conditions

Megan Lieu
Megan Lieu

Rental availability has fallen to a record low making it extremely difficult for renters. However, some regions are defying the trend and are seeing improvements in the availability of rentals.

According to PropTrack, national rental vacancy rates fell by 0.12 percentage points (ppt) to 1.07% in February - the scarcest proportion of properties available for rent historically.

Capital cities saw a larger decline in rental availability over the month with a 0.14 ppt decrease in vacancy rates compared to the 0.07 ppt drop in regional areas.

While the tightening of supply is causing increased competition for those looking to rent, some areas have actually seen an increase in choice for renters.

To get a better sense of where these areas are, we looked into the Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3) regions with the largest increase in available rentals over the past quarter.

Defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SA3s generally have a population of between 30,000 and 130,000 people and often closely align to large urban Local Government Areas, for example, Geelong.

Regions with the largest quarterly growth in rental vacancy rates

Location (SA3) State City or Region Vacancy rate Quarterly change (percentage point)
West Coast TAS Rest of Tas. 4.1% 1ppt
Macedon Ranges VIC Melbourne 2.0% 0.95ppt
Katherine NT Rest of NT 2.42% 0.93ppt
Mornington Peninsula VIC Melbourne 2.07% 0.72ppt
Tumut - Tumbarumba NSW Rest of NSW 2.87% 0.7ppt
Gold Coast Hinterland QLD Rest of Qld 2.23% 0.62ppt
Creswick - Daylesford - Ballan VIC Rest of Vic. 2.37% 0.61ppt
Mid West WA Rest of WA 1.57% 0.6ppt
Shepparton VIC Rest of Vic. 1.31% 0.57ppt
Surfers Paradise QLD Rest of Qld 1.68% 0.56ppt
Source: PropTrack. Only includes SA3s with at least 10 vacancies in both periods.

The West Coast region located in regional Tasmania led the rankings with their rental vacancy rate up 1ppt since November 2023.

The Melbourne regions Macedon Ranges and Mornington Peninsula followed closely. They experienced increases of 0.95ppt and 0.72ppt in vacancies respectively.

Mornington Peninsula is one of the regions where rental vacancies have risen most in the past quarter. Picture: Getty

More properties were also available in Katherine in regional NT and Tumut - Tumbaraumba in regional NSW. Vacancies in these areas rose by 0.93 ppt and 0.72ppt to 2.42% and 2.87% respectively in the past 3 months.

In most capital cities and regional areas finding a rental is still as difficult or more difficult than a year ago and much more challenging than pre-pandemic times.

The shortfall of new home builds, brought about by a downward trend in dwelling approvals, commencements and completions, are one of the factors driving the tightness in market. Strong population growth is another.

With limited short-term solutions to improve rental availability, these tough conditions are likely to persist. Renters will continue to feel the strain from heightened competition and increasing rent costs.

More insights from the expert team at PropTrack

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