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1. People stay with other people overnight.

2. New buildings are unoccupied, sometimes for months.

A more useful measure is rental vacancy rates. The Australian average is 2.3%, which is pretty close to "none" in practical terms.

Those rates are voluntarily self-reported by rental property managers - there's a fairly clear conflict of interest.

According to the following Melbourne has a 5.9% vacancy rate. They use water usage data from the water companies for their analysis. (<50L/day = vacant property)


What's the conflict of interest?

Vacancy rate is basically a property manager's KPI. Additionally, data is collected by the REIV which has no interest in providing bad news about investing in property. https://s.zoomerang.com/s/REIV-January-2013-Vacancy-Survey

REIV vacancy rate is (unleased property on the books) / (property on the books). It's always going to be an under-estimate of true vacancy due to properties that are empty full time and those that are privately managed and temporarily vacant.

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