SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said that both Darwin and Perth have continued to record alarming numbers of vacancies, particularly considering the vacancies recorded at this time last year.
“However, year-on-year vacancies are still edging up for the country and we think this will still be the trend going forward,” he said.
“The cities and townships most exposed to the commodities downturn are causing this yearly rise.”
Perth saw the biggest rise in vacancies, jumping from 2.6 per cent in February 2015 to 3.9 per cent in February 2016.
In Darwin, the vacancy rate climbed from 3.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent over the same period, while Brisbane’s rose from 2.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
Melbourne’s vacancy rate fell from 2.3 per cent to 2.0 per cent, while Adelaide’s increased from 1.5 per cent to 1.9 per cent.
In Sydney, vacancies dipped from 1.7 per cent to 1.6 per cent, while Canberra’s vacancy rate fell from 1.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent.
Hobart has the tightest rental market in the country, with its vacancy rate falling from 1.3 per cent to 0.9 per cent.
Nationally, the vacancy rate rose from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.
Mr Christopher noted that Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra recorded downward trends in vacancy that resulted in upward pressure in asking rents.
Sydney remained the most expensive city for year-on-year rent prices, with houses up 3.9 per cent to a median of $714, and units up 5.1 per cent to $500.
In Darwin, the median rent price for houses fell 10.3 per cent to $567, and fell 11.2 per cent to $456 for units.
Canberra houses rose 10.9 per cent to $534 and units climbed 2.9 per cent to $391, while Melbourne houses dropped 0.1 per cent to $477 and units jumped 4.3 per cent to $373.
Perth houses fell 1.5 per cent to $466 and units dipped 9.1 per cent to $376, while Brisbane houses dropped 0.2 per cent to $448 and units rose 2.1 per cent to $371.
Adelaide houses rose 0.4 per cent to $370 and units climbed 3.5 per cent to $287, while Hobart houses jumped 4.1 per cent to $337 and units rose 2.4 per cent to $287.
Across the country, the median rent price for houses rose 1.7 per cent to $420, while units remained unchanged at $341.