COVID-19 has heavily impacted Australia's short-term rental market in most capital cities, but one region has remained surprisingly resilient to the impacts of the pandemic throughout 2020.
Canberra, the nation's capital, has averaged an occupancy rate of 77% in the six months from March 2020 to August 2020, significantly ahead of larger capital cities which have been more affected by lockdowns and restrictions during the same time period. Market data source: AirDNA.
Canberra 12 month Average Occupancy and Daily Rate Trend: Mid-2019 to 2020
Average Daily Rates (ADR) have also remained relatively consistent, indicating a low level of discounting in order to maintain occupancy.
ADR dropped from $151 in March, at the start of the pandemic, down to a low of $137 in May (9.2% decline) at the height of impact of the initial lockdown period. However, this decline lasted only briefly, with ADR rising back to pre-March levels between $150 to $160 in June, July and August.
Strong ACT employment underpins low vacancy rate
Unlike other capital cities, Canberra has been less affected by a movement of workers out of the city, as employment has remained comparably strong and rebounded sharply due to the impact of the government sector and demand for government services during the pandemic. The Australian Capital Territory headquarters over 50 federal government agencies, including large employers such as the Australian Tax Office.
This low rental vacancy rate has prevented a large supply of new properties being listed on the short-term rental and Airbnb market, preventing a crash in occupancy and daily rates.
The latest treasury figures show The ACT's effective unemployment fell rapidly from 9.8% in April to 5.2% in July (compared to 9.9% nationally).
Canberra Airbnb and short-term rental hotspots
The majority of Canberra short-term rental properties are located in the Inner North areas from Braddon to Dickson, as well as a dense pocket of listings around the Kingston Foreshore and Manuka region in the Inner South.
Smaller pockets of short-term rental hotspots can be found in out hub suburbs in Belconnen, Woden Valley and Gunghalin.
Image: location of entire property short-term rentals across the ACT
An apartment building boom over the last five to ten years in Canberra has meant the largest group of short-term rental property types consist of one-bedroom listings, making up 46% of the market, followed by two-bedroom properties (30%).
The top locations for short-term rentals in August 2020 were:
August Occupancy Rate
August Average Daily Rate (all properties)
August Average Daily Rate (one-bedroom)
August Average Daily Rate (two-bedrooms)
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