Sydney’s vacancy rate on the rise again, as regional areas tighten

20 April 2021

The REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey results for March 2021 show that vacancies in Sydney are once again on the rise.

Vacancies in Sydney overall rose last month and now sit at 4.0% – up 0.9% from February 2021.

“This rise brings vacancies in Sydney to their highest level since October 2020,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said. “Vacancies in Sydney’s Inner Ring increased to 4.5%, a rise of 0.8% for the month. Similarly, the Middle and Outer Rings also rose by 1.5% and 0.6% respectively to be 5.8% and 2.5%.

“Many REINSW members are reporting that the residential rental market has slowed again across Sydney. Property managers are telling us that there are fewer properties coming onto the market and those that do are taking longer to rent. Older properties in need of upgrading are problematic, as tenants are becoming more and more discerning about where they choose to live.”

Outside Sydney, vacancy rates dropped substantially in both Newcastle and Wollongong. A decrease of 1.2% saw vacancies in Newcastle come in at 0.7%. Similarly, vacancies in Wollongong fell by 0.6% to be 1.6%.

“Feedback from our members in these areas indicates that the exodus of tenants from Sydney is continuing, with people seeking more affordable options further afield,” Mr McKibbin said.

Vacancy rates across much of the rest of regional New South Wales continue to remain extremely tight.

“Rates in the Central West, Mid-North Coast, Northern Rivers, Orana, Riverina and South East areas all dropped in March,” Mr McKibbin said. “Albury and Murrumbidgee remained stable for the month, while the Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, New England and South Coast areas each experienced a slight uptick in the availability of rental accommodation.”

The REINSW Residential Vacancy Rate Report is based on the proportion of unlet residential dwellings to the total rent roll of REINSW member agents on the 15th of each month. Carried out monthly, the research – a survey of REINSW member agents conducted by Survey Matters – collects the total properties on agency rent rolls, the number of properties that were vacant on the 15th of the month, and the postcode in which a majority of agents’ rental properties are located. The suburb-level rates reported by agents are weighted based on ABS Census 2016 Dwelling Characteristics. The March 2021 report is based on survey responses covering 113,568 residential rental properties.

To download the Media Release Click Here.

To view the March Survey Results Click Here.

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The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) is the peak industry body for real estate and property professionals in NSW. It represents more than 2000 agencies across residential sales, property management, commercial, strata management, buyers’ agency, agency services and auctioneering. Established in 1910, REINSW works to improve the standards, professionalism and expertise of its members to continually evolve and innovate the industry. It lobbies the government and industry on behalf of members, develops new products and services to benefit agencies and professionals, and offer training and ongoing professional development. For more information, visit