With vacancy rates in Darwin sitting at 5.5%, landlords must be sensible and do more to retain quality tenants, said one expert.

“The reality is that there’s still a surplus of 1,200 rental properties in the Darwin market, the same figure as 6-8 months ago,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager of Raine & Home Darwin.

“The market is levelling out with virtually the same amount of new tenants and new rental properties hitting the market every month.”

Grantham warns that Darwin’s landlords need to be practical about their weekly rental expectations given the market’s current holding pattern.

Those putting property into the market for the first time, he adds, need to be realistic with their asking prices.

 He urges new landlords to listen to their property manager and check online for how the competition prices its leases.

“If you don’t listen to the market, you’ll be an investor without an income,” he said.

For those landlords facing the end of a lease, Grantham suggests that they approach their tenants before they make a change.

“If you have a tenant who is looking after the property and paying the rent on time, approach them immediately with some carrots, such as a discount on their current weekly rent, to ensure they stay put,” he said.

“Don’t try and convince them to stay after they have decided to move on. By then it will be too late.”

Meanwhile, among the suburbs of Darwin, the northern markets of Millner, Jingili, and Moil remain strong performers. The have posted potential yields of 5.5% and vacancy rates below Darwin’s average.