Australia’s rental crisis hits new low


SQM Research has released rental data for October, with the nation’s vacancy rate plummeting to a new 16-year low of just 1.0%, down from 1.9% a year earlier:

SQM rental vacancy rates

Rental vacancy rates almost halve in a year.

In the 30 days to 16 November 2022, capital city asking rents also rose another 2% with the 12-month rise standing at an unprecedented 24.4%:

SQM asking rents

Asking rents booming.


Commenting on the result, SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher noted that “the national rental market is still very much in favour of landlords, particularly for our capital cities where there is no evidence yet of any easing in the rental market”. However, Christopher said “there is some good news for tenants in a number of townships and regions outside the capital cities whereby SQM Research is now recording a consistent rise in rental vacancy rates, albeit from a very low base”.

Christopher believes this easing in regional rental vacancies “might be attributed to a population flow back into the cities whereby an increasing number of white-collar workers are being asked to come back into the office”. If true, “this means the capital city rental market will continue to be under great strain for tenants over the foreseeable future and may not ease until late 2023 at the earliest”.

Australia’s rental crisis is destined to get worse given net temporary student and work visa arrivals have risen to record levels:

Net student and work visas

Record student and work visa providers.

The impact will be worst in the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne, which are the key landing points for migrants.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.