Back to university action drives down rental vacancies across NSW

Media release - 27th January, 2016

With university offers finalised, tertiary students across NSW have commenced the urgent quest for accommodation for the 2016 academic year, which will put the squeeze on already tight rental vacancy rates across NSW.

Gerard Hill, Co-Principal of Raine & Horne Newtown, said the rental market in Sydney’s Inner West, which is home to Sydney University, the University of Technology, and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA), a major teaching hospital, remains tight with vacancy rates well under 1%.

“We currently have 6 properties out of 1100 available for rent, with as many as 43 parties at inspections.”

Mr Hill added, “We expect vacancy rates will be squeezed further as new and existing university students flood the rental market in February.

“Therefore the best advice is to get in now before the bulk of students start to make their presence felt at open for inspections in suburbs closest to the universities such as Newtown, Darlington and Erskinville.”

Underlining the fierce rivalry for rental properties in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Terry Brandtman, Principal of Raine & Horne Randwick, says there were 30% fewer properties available for rent in early January than at the end of spring 2015. 

“Two-bedroom apartments in Clovelly, Coogee and Randwick rent for between $550 and $750 a week depending on the age of the stock, which compares very favourably to apartments in the newer developments in Waterloo, Alexandria and Mascot, where weekly prices can be closer to $850,” said Mr Brandtman.

“Given Randwick’s proximity to the city, the University of NSW and the beaches, many rental properties are tightly-held, as existing tenants don’t want to leave for fear of paying more.

“However at this time of year there is usually some attrition with some people shifting outside the region and others looking to move to the area,” Mr Brandtman added.

Rental accommodation is also tight in NSW’s second biggest city, Newcastle, with virtually nothing available within walking distance of the CBD.

“Anything in inner city Newcastle is being snapped up almost immediately,” said Jason Maxwell, Principal of Raine & Horne Newcastle.

A one bedroom apartment within a 1 minute walk of the Newcastle CBD, at 408/21 Newcomen Street, Newcastle, hit the market on Thursday last week, and had been leased by Monday for $400 a week.

Demand for student accommodation in Newcastle remains robust, despite the University of Newcastle’s decision to develop additional on-campus housing in recent years.

“We are seeing more students returning to the private rental market this year due to cheaper room costs and a desire for more privacy,” said Mr Maxwell. Rooms in student share-house accommodation in Newcastle start from $90 a week.

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman of Raine & Horne, said a combination of persistence, punctuality and presentation will be critical in helping rental market contenders into a home.

“There’s no escaping the fact you have to wear out some shoe leather and inspect as many rental homes as you can,” said Mr Raine.

“Treat a meeting with a property manager like a job interview – smart casual attire including polished shoes rather than shorts and thongs won’t hurt your rental chances either.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider taking mum and dad along to inspections. It might sound cheesy for some, but it often works.

“Even getting parents to countersign a lease agreement can help as this makes them jointly responsible for the lease,” said Mr Raine.

Angus Raine’s tips for beating the rental squeeze in 2016

  1. Treat appointments with property managers like a job interview.
  2. Be punctual and present professionally.
  3. For younger people, it helps if mum and dad are with you at appointments and/or they can offer a rental guarantee.
  4. References from employers, university lecturers, school teachers, a family doctor or solicitor – and especially past property managers or landlords – are essential.
  5. Take along paper work such as your motor vehicle licence and/or passport, bank statements and so on.
  6. If you’re offered a property, take it immediately or you could miss out.


For further media information contact:

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne, on 0409 920 697

Andrew Harrington, National Communications Manager, Raine & Horne, on 02 9258 5400