Sydney becomes tenant’s dream as rental vacancies at highest level since 2005

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Sydney has become a dream for people renting. Picture: Toby Zerna

Sydney is becoming a renter’s dream as landlords grappling with the worst vacancy crisis since records began offer tenants massive savings and up to a month’s free rent.

Listing figures show a record 25,000 rental homes remain untenanted, representing 3.5 per cent of all rental stock — the highest since vacancies were first tracked in 2005.

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Housing experts said the high supply of empty homes forced landlords to cut their prices to attract tenants, resulting in a 2.9 per cent drop in median rent across Sydney. This equated to an average saving of roughly $520 per year, according to research group CoreLogic.

Renter Mel Jensen recently got a big discount off her rent in North Sydney. Picture: Toby Zerna

Tenants were getting even bigger savings — in some cases well in excess of $3000 a year — in building hot spots such as Ryde and the Hills district, where there was an oversupply of new homes.

Advertised unit rents in high-density hub North Ryde dropped by $70 per week over the past year, from an average of $650 per week to $580.

This meant tenants seeking out a home today would pay an average of about $3640 less per year on rent than those who secured their homes last year.

A two-bedroom unit in this building on Belmore St in Ryde is being advertised with a week free rent included. The rent is $550 per week. NSW real estate.

The average drop in rental prices for houses in the Hills was nearly 4 per cent over the past year, a saving equivalent to $25 per week or $1300 per year. Landlords in Hills suburb Kellyville were offering up particularly attractive deals such as a month’s free rent because 7 per cent of houses were untenanted — the highest vacancy rate in Sydney.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said there could be even further falls in rent over the rest of the year because vacancies were mounting. “Over development means there is a huge supply of rentals, and more are coming, but there are also less tenants,” she said, adding that Sydney’s tenant pool was shrinking because more renters were moving interstate — particularly to Queensland.

Units in this block in the Mays Hill area, where there has been a high level of high rise apartment construction, are being advertised with up to four weeks free rent included. The rent is $480 per week. NSW real estate.

Mel Jensen, 42, recently got a new North Sydney unit for about $45 per week less than a nearly identical home in the same building.

“The landlord was very accommodating. They offered to fix up quite a few things before I moved in,” she said.

Tenant’s agent Marcelle Wever of Sydney Rental Search said renters would get the best savings on one-bedroom or two-bedroom units.

“There’s an oversupply of these homes and they take a while to lease out,” she said.

Other areas where rents were falling were the Strathfield area, which includes building hot spot Homebush. Unit rents dropped on average of 5 per cent, or $30 per week, which added up to a reduction of $1560 per year. Median rents in Sydney Olympic Park, home of the problem plagued Opal Tower dropped by $40 per week, or about 7 per cent.

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