Vacancy rates down but Sydney and Melbourne markets continue to struggle

Exterior of an apartment building.

Property vacancy rates continue to fall in the majority of Australian capital cities, causing rents to edge upwards as tenants compete for a limited supply of housing.

The latest figures from Archistar reveal that house vacancy rates are lowest in Canberra at 0.4%, followed by Adelaide (0.6%), Darwin (0.8%), Perth (0.9%) and Hobart (0.9%). Brisbane also posted low numbers at just above the 1% mark.

The number of unoccupied units has also been steadily dropping, putting further upward pressure on rents. However, things have been tracking in the opposite direction in Melbourne and Sydney, where inner-city apartment vacancies have reached record highs.

Archistar chief economist Andrew Wilson said landlords face an uphill battle in Melbourne, where “interstate migration shifts and a CBD apartment glut are providing relief for local tenants.”

"Similarly, Sydney’s inner city apartment market also reflecting the impacts of border restrictions is providing more choices and lower rents for tenants - with no relief for landlords in sight."

Capital city vacancy rates


Both Sydney and Melbourne recorded vacancy rates well above the 3% benchmark considered healthy by the Real Estate Agency of Australia. Not surprisingly, Melbourne is faring the worst of the two, with 4.5% of homes currently unoccupied. 

The lingering effects of lockdown and a dearth of international students are expected to keep rents in the two major cities low for the foreseeable future, particularly in the inner-city apartment markets.

And while rents in other capital cities have been buoyed by a shortage of supply, recent changes to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs could see things take a turn for the worse.

With an estimated 1.1 million Australians on JobKeeper throughout the March quarter, its conclusion is expected to cause significant job losses. According to secretary to the Australian Treasury, Steven Kennedy, an estimated 150,000 Australians will be out of work.

An increase in the number of tenants struggling to make rent could see vacancy rates drift upwards in the coming months, and Sydney and Melbourne won’t be the only cities dealt a heavy blow. 

For more information on property and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo - last updated 2 March 2024

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Home Fixed Rate

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    5.80% p.a.
    fixed 3 years
    5.91% p.a.

    Enjoy the security of a competitive fixed interest rate from Up. No application, monthly, annual, redraw, or discharge fees to pay. Up to 50 free offset accounts available. Up home loans are only available to owner-occupiers buying or refinancing in major Australian cities. Up is 100% owned by Bendigo Bank. New joiners get $10 by signing up to the app using code UPHOMEMOZO. (T&Cs apply). Mozo Experts Choice award winner.

  • Straight Up

    Obliterate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <50% LVR

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.24% p.a. variable
    6.24% p.a.

    Get a low variable rate depending on your deposit with Athena’s Straight Up Variable Home Loan. AcceleRATES feature helps you to reduce your home loan even faster (T&Cs apply). Zero fees to pay. Free redraw facility. Handy mobile app to manage your home loan.

  • Offset Home Loan

    Package, Owner Occupier, LVR<60%, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.15% p.a. variable
    6.40% p.a.

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.


* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.