National vacancy rates increased during the month of December to 2.6% with 73,082 vacancies recorded nationwide, according to SQM Research.
This figure represents a 0.4% increase compared to November and a 0.3% increase year on year, but SQM says vacancy rates tend to rise at the end of each calendar year.
Melbourne currently has the highest vacancy rate out of the capital cities, recording 3.4% for the month of December; a 0.4% increase from the previous month but a 0.2% decrease year on year.
According to SQM, December was the fifth consecutive increase for Melbourne, which now sits above the market equilibrium of 3%.
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Year on year, Perth experienced the biggest jump, increasing 1.2% from 0.9% in December 2012 to 2.1% in December 2013.
Brisbane and Canberra both increased 0.6% annual, recording a vacancy rate of 2.8% and 2.3% respectively.
SQM says the ongoing uptrend in the number of capital cities’ CBD locations is of significance, with the Brisbane CBD recording a vacancy rate of 5.4%, Melbourne CBD recording 5.8% and Perth CBD recording a 5.9% vacancy rate.
The surge in vacancy rates in capital cities’ CBD is a result of new supply on the market, with rates trending upwards since mid-2013, says SQM.
The asking price for rental properties remained flat during 2013, with the capital city average recording a 0.8% increase for houses and a 1% increase in asking rents for units, according to SQM Research’s Asking Rents Index.
Darwin experienced the biggest increase for housing, rising 5.9% for asking rents for houses and a 7.7% increase in asking rents for units.
Canberra recorded the steepest decline of 8.4% in asking rents for houses and a drop of 5.3% in asking rents for units.
Regionally, SQM recorded high vacancy rates in a number of resources based townships, including Karratha at 8% for the month of December, Port Hedland recorded 6.3%, Gladstone at 11.1%, Mackay at 6.8% and Townsville at 8%.
This article first appeared on Property Observer.