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Private rental vacancy rates, Australia, Sydney & Melbourne, June 2019 to August 2021

COVID-19Housing & homelessness

The economic shock associated with the 2020 national lockdown, and resulting reduced demand for rental property, is clearly apparent this graph. However, the impact was larger and more sustained in Sydney and – especially – Melbourne than in Australia as a whole. In these cities this could also have reflected ongoing additions to supply due to the tail end of the 2010s apartment construction boom.

The scale of the 2020 vacancy rate increase in Melbourne is the most striking feature of this figure. Notably, this involved a rise of some 18,000 vacant dwellings between March and December – exactly coincident with the reduced number of Melbourne tenancies recorded during this period, as reported in the previous section.

Unfortunately, Sydney and Melbourne cannot be excluded from the ‘Australia’ figures in the above graph. If this were possible it would likely show only a very small ‘vacancy rate pandemic impact’ beyond the boundaries of the nation’s two largest cities.

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