Adelaide now has the tightest rental market in the country, after overtaking Perth as the capital city with the lowest vacancy rate in Australia.

Monthly data from private analytics company PropTrack shows just 0.83 per cent of Adelaide’s rental properties were vacant in March, compared to 1.08 per cent across the nation.

“A healthy vacancy rate is normally around 3 per cent,” PropTrack senior economist Anne Flaherty said.

“The fact that in Adelaide, we’re well below 1 per cent at this point shows what a crisis we’re in at the moment.”

Adelaide’s vacancy rate has remained under 1 per cent for more than two years.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Nationally there was a “modest rise” in the number of homes available for rent in March, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all recording slight increases in vacancy rates.

But those rates worsened in Darwin — which nevertheless still has the highest vacancy rate — and Canberra.

Perth’s vacancy rate was the worst in Australia in February, but the city had since recorded a bigger rise than its interstate counterparts, to 0.86 per cent.

Adelaide’s vacancy rate has remained under 1 per cent since September 2021 — longer than any other capital city.

Capital cities

March vacancy rate

Monthly change


0.83 per cent



0.86 per cent



0.98 per cent



1.12 per cent



1.16 per cent



1.22 per cent



1.37 per cent



2.20 per cent


Ms Flaherty said there had been a “significant reduction” in available rental since the pandemic, and warned there was no short-term relief on the way for renters.

“Since March 2020, there’s been a 44 per cent reduction in the total number of rental properties sitting vacant,” she said.

PropTrack’s Anne Flaherty said the rental market remained excessively competitive.(Supplied: REA Group)

“There’s just so few rental properties out there.

“When those that become vacant do come up, we’re seeing very high levels of competition among renters.”

Young people priced out

Adelaide doctor Mirella Taylor, 25, and project manager Sarah Mortimer, 28, are among those who know that situation all too well.

“I’m a doctor,” Ms Taylor said — but “still can’t get a house,” Ms Mortimer added.

They have been to at least 10 house inspections over the past two months as they continue to search for a share house.

“We currently live in a house in Parkside that we love, but our landlord, I think, is struggling with rising interest [rates] … so he’s planning to Airbnb our house out,” Ms Mortimer said.

Mirella Taylor and Sarah Mortimer have been looking for a new rental for the last two months.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

The project manager said that, in the meantime, their landlord was increasing their rent.

“We didn’t really want to do that — so, we’ve been actively been looking for a household.”

Ms Taylor added young people were losing out in the current rental market.

“It just prices young people out of being able to afford to move into locations that are even semi-convenient for work,” she said. 

“Everyone’s just trying to find a place to live, which is a bit hard.”

‘Chicken-and-egg problem’

Following the introduction of new rules in March, rental prices in South Australia can only be raised once a year.

The government has also introduced laws banning landlords and real estate agents from soliciting bids for rental properties, and Real Estate Institute of South Australia chief executive officer Andrea Heading said anyone found to be doing so faced “major fines”.

“Agents and property managers and landlords can’t start a bidding war, for example, across rentals,” she said.

“Once some of the reforms are introduced, hopefully that will help the market settle a little bit, too.”

Andrea Heading said new houses are not being built fast enough to keep up with demand.(David Frearson)

But with the average rent about $565 per week — according to analysis from CoreLogic earlier this year — Ms Heading said there were still significant impediments to reducing rents.

“The major concern is the fact that demand is still way outstripping supply,” she said.

“New houses are not being built fast enough with what we’re seeing in terms of population growth.”

Premier Peter Malinauskas said the government was moving at “warp speed” to create more affordable housing, including by rezoning land.

“The other challenge though that we’ve got, that is more difficult for the government to address, is the shortage of labour supply to actually build houses,” he said.

“We have a chicken-and-egg problem here — we need more houses to be built which means we need more people to build them but they themselves need a house as well.”

Opposition housing spokeswoman Michelle Lensink said work at land release sites, which were announced last year and have been earmarked for thousands of homes, had “barely started”.

“When it comes to tangible housing solutions there is no evidence to be seen,” she said.