The squeeze on rental accommodation around the country eased slightly in April, with vacancy rates rising 0.1 percentage points to 1.1 per cent in the first increase since the start of the year.

But the improvement in vacancy rates has not made renting any easier for tenants, with asking rents climbing higher as demand continues to outpace supply, data from SQM Research shows.

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research, said more property owners were responding to the tight rental market and leasing their properties again after taking them off the market during COVID-19.

Vacancy rates held steady at 1.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne respectively, but they are still at their lowest levels in years. Brisbane’s vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent was the lowest on record.

Rental markets in Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin posted up to 0.2 percentage point increases in vacancy rates during the month, but most are still at their tightest levels in decades.

Some of the tightest regional rental markets also eased slightly. Vacancy rates in the Blue Mountains, Hunter region and the Central Coast in NSW rose by 0.20 percentage points to 0.7 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

The Gold Coast also recorded a 0.2 percentage point rise in vacancy rate to 0.5 per cent. On the Sunshine Coast it was up by 0.1 percentage points to 0.6 per cent, and climbed by 0.5 percentage points to 2.1 per cent in Byron Bay.

‘‘While the small increase in vacancy rates means rental conditions have not deteriorated further, it is still very much a landlord’s market,’’ Mr Christopher said.

‘‘There are still far more would-be renters than landlords at this stage that’s why we’re still seeing rents continuing to rise strongly around the country.

‘‘Landlords are very confident at the moment in terms of lifting rents, and they’re getting that rise.’’

In the past 30 days, landlords nationwide have lifted their asking rents by another 1.4 per cent, after increasing by 2.4 per cent in the previous month.

Asking rents for Sydney houses jumped by 19.4 per cent over the year to May 12, and Melbourne climbed by 9.4 per cent. High rental demand for Brisbane houses triggered a 20.9 per cent rise in asking rent, 9.6 per cent increase in Perth, 19.8 per cent in Adelaide, 10.4 per cent in Canberra, 15.5 per cent in Darwin and 12.4 per cent in Hobart.

‘‘We’re not seeing any slowdown in the rise in rents, particularly across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,’’ Mr Christopher said.

‘‘These three cities are recording some of the fastest increases in rents because of the imbalance between rental demand and supply. So, I think rents are going to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.’’

In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, asking rents jumped by 19.3 per cent over the year. They climbed by 11.5 per cent in the inner west, by 6.4 per cent on the northern beaches and by 13.3 per cent in the CBD.

In Melbourne’s inner east, asking rents rose by 9.4 per cent and were up by 11.3 per cent on the Mornington Peninsula.

Asking rents on the Gold Coast rose by 28.2 per cent and by 16.5 per cent in inner Brisbane.