Sydney vacancies plummet to lowest level in more than three years

13 September 2021

The REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey results for August 2021 show that residential rental vacancies in Sydney have dropped for the fourth consecutive month.

“At 2.6%, a 0.3% drop for the month, the vacancy rate is now 1.7% – down from April’s high of 4.3%,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said. “This is the lowest rate for Sydney that we’ve seen since May 2018, when the rate fell to just 2.4%.

“The decrease is attributable to lower vacancies in Sydney’s Inner and Outer Rings, which dropped 0.2% (to 2.9%) and 0.6% (to 1.7%) respectively. In contrast, vacancies in the Middle Ring rose by 0.1% to be 4.0%.”

Mr McKibbin said that Sydney’s residential rental market has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The latest lockdown is biting hard, with businesses shut and people out of work,” he said. “Our member agents are telling us about Mum and Dad investors who are selling their hard-earned investment properties to stay afloat. With so little stock on the market, these properties are being snapped up by home buyers. The flow-on impact is the removal of these properties from the residential rental market.”

Outside Sydney, vacancies also dropped significantly in Newcastle to 2.2% (-1.8%), however the number of available properties rose slightly in Wollongong to 1.5% (+0.1%).

Vacancy rates across regional New South Wales continue to remain extremely tight.

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

Mr McKibbin added that it seems that the pandemic rollercoaster is far from over for the residential rental market.

“The last 18 months have been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs across New South Wales, leaving landlords and tenants alike doing their best to respond to unpredictable market conditions,” he said. “This unpredictability will likely continue as we see the impact of current lockdown conditions continue to trickle through to vacancy rate figures in the coming months.”

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 August Survey Results Click Here.

For more information, please contact:
Media Officer | 0423 724080 | [email protected]

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

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