NSW Rental Rates Remain Unpredictable
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NSW Rental Rates Remain Unpredictable

New analysis points to a tightening in residential vacancies across February.

By Terry Christodoulou
Tue, Mar 16, 2021 10:11amGrey Clock < 1 min

The residential rental market across New South Wales remains erratic.

Fresh data from the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) Vacancy Rate Survey indicates vacancies for Sydney overall tightened last month and now sit at 3.1% (-0.5%).

“Sydney’s inner ring dropped to 3.7%, a decrease of 1.1% for the month,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said. “Similarly, the outer ring dropped by 0.6% to 1.9%. Bucking the trend, the middle ring remained relatively stable, experiencing only a slight 0.1% rise to 4.3%.”

Sydney’s inner ring includes suburbs in LGA’s inclusive of Ashfield, Botany Bay, Lane Cove, Leichhardt, Marrickville, Mosman, North Sydney, Randwick, Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra. While the ‘middle’ is identified as LGAs Auburn, Bankstown, Burwood, Canterbury, Canada Bay, Hunters Hill, Hurstville, Kogarah, Ku-ring-gai, Manly, Parramatta, Rockdale, Ryde, Strathfield and Willoughb and ‘outer’ includes Baulkham Hills, Blacktown and Blue Mountains.

However, if the last 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that the residential rental market remains unpredictable, moving up and down month after month.”

Beyond Sydney, vacancy rates remained stable in the Hunter region up to 1.3% (+0.1%), while the Illawarra region rose to 2.1% (+1.0%).

Vacancy rates across NSW regional areas — such as Albury, the Central West, Murrumbidgee, New England, Northern Rivers and South East areas — all fell in February.

“Feedback from our members in these areas indicates that stock is extremely tight, as tenants continue to exit the Sydney residential rental market to secure a property that suits both their budget and desired lifestyle,” added McKibbin.

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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.

However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October. 

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