Nervous tenants are delaying their move plans amid fears of the Omicron outbreak, leaving the Sydney rental market in an uncertain position.
The impact of the Omicron variant is still being felt across Australia and the Sydney residential rental market is not immune.
New survey results released by the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) showed Sydney’s vacancy rate, the proportion of rentals without tenants, fell to 2.8% in December – down from 0 , 2%.
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In downtown Sydney, vacancy rates edged down to 3.7% for the month.
According to REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin, residential rental markets have been in limbo across much of the state.
“We certainly expected a lull in the market ahead of the holiday season, but REINSW members report that this usual lull was exacerbated in December as many people are hesitant about the future as Omicron continues to spread. “Mr. McKibbin said.
“As a result, many are delaying their move plans, leaving the market in limbo.”
Vacancy rates generally represent the share of available and empty rental properties in relation to the total inventory of rental properties.
The Sydney city center market has recorded the highest vacancy rates in New South Wales and could be affected by future lockdowns.
Data conducted by realestate.com.au in June 2021 revealed that Sydney had the highest asking rental prices for three-bedroom homes in national capitals, with one home costing renters $ 700 per week.
“People want to live on the beach or in a regional area without having to travel to town,” McKibbin said.
“What surprised me was how far people have gotten from the city. Places like Byron Bay, Aubury, Dubbo and Armidale came under pressure as rental prices in these markets were more attractive than urban areas.
Mr McKibbin explained that people looking for a lifestyle change also meant that demand in regional areas was pushing up prices in those markets, forcing a number of low-income locals out.
“Many people who have moved to these areas may have taken a ‘test drive’ in a new location to work from home; they weren’t looking for a permanent move.
“Omicron effectively caused the Sydney market to freeze, people considering leaving the city were caught off guard. “
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Originally posted as Sydney’s vacancy rate drops as Omicron outbreak leaves rental market in limbo