SQM posted rental vacancy data for May this week. To start at the conclusion from Louis Christopher:
Rental vacancy rates have fallen across the board in May, driving rents higher, especially in regional locations. This trend is likely to remain through the second half of the year, given the fierce competition for rental accommodation in many areas. We are still seeing falling vacancies everywhere from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the Gold Coast, right through to inland areas like the Murray Regions of NSW and South Australia to outback Northern Territory, along with Darwin, which is having the effect of boosting rents as tenants compete for rental homes. However, vacancies rates rose for the NSW North Coast, as some renters headed back to town and we also saw a rise in vacancy accommodation in Perth, though the rate was unchanged.
The last sentence on the NSW North Coast is interesting. Last year I flagged Coffs Harbour midway and the largest coastal city between the Gold Coast and Newcastle as a bellwether to watch for shifting trends. Coffs vacancy rate is at 0.7% after bouncing off an extreme low at 0.1% last September. Consequently, exuberance around current trends in Cairns should be muted. Property investors may be excited regardless of social externalities.
Beware of scaling differences from SQM and also differences in composition between units and houses in postcodes. Most significant there is actually the central 4870 postcode with about half the rental properties in Cairns but hasn’t yet breached a new low post pandemic now equal to August 2018 which perhaps coincidentally was near the time when passenger traffic peaked through Cairns Airport.
The positive data emerging in Port Douglas / Douglas Shire deserves its own post.