Latest media release from REI NSW on this topic: Tenants could suffer more from rising rents than homeowners did from last year’s interest rate hikes unless action is taken to encourage property investment, the Real Estate Institute of NSW warned today. REINSW’s latest Vacancy Rates survey shows the rental crisis is spreading across NSW, making it harder for renting families to find a place to live. “REINSW is pleased that the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold today, as a further rate rise would have placed undue pressure on homeowners,” said REINSW President Cristine Castle. “However, while attention was focussed on rising interest rates last year, the situation for tenants was steadily worsening.” REINSW provides the only comprehensive data on rental vacancies across NSW. The latest figures shows a vacancy rate of just 1.6% in January right across the Sydney metropolitan area – a slight improvement from the 1.5% in December. However the amount of available accommodation in regional areas continues to fall. On the Central Coast, the vacancy rate fell to 2.2% from 3.9%, Albury was down to 1.8% from 2.3%, the Orana region (including Dubbo) came in at 1.7%, down from 2.2%, and Northern Rivers dipped to 2.1% from 2.7%. “The low level of rental vacancies is not just a Sydney problem,” Mrs Castle said. “It’s happening in the regional areas as well, and this is already leading to rent rises. “The NSW Government needs to take immediate action to encourage investors to enter the property market, which would provide more accommodation for tenants.” REINSW is lobbying for the abolition of land tax on residential properties – which are mainly investment properties – to provide a confidence boost to investors. “REINSW is calling for the major political parties to adopt this policy in the lead-up to the state election next month,” Mrs Castle said.