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Palm Beach near Sydney and Portsea near Melbourne have Australia's highest rental vacancy rates

Exclusive billionaires' playgrounds an hour's drive from Sydney and Melbourne have Australia's highest rental vacancy rates.

The beachside peninsulas on the Northern Beaches and Victoria's Mornington Peninsula have an even more dramatic proportion of empty investment properties than the centre of Australia's biggest cities struggling with COVID-19 shutdowns.

Portsea, at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay, had Australia's highest rental vacancy rate of 38.1 per cent in June, SQM Research has revealed.

Exclusive billionaires' playgrounds an hour's drive from Sydney and Melbourne have some of Australia's highest rental vacancy rates. Pictured is Palm Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches

Portsea, at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay, had Australia's highest rental vacancy rate of 38.1 per cent in June, SQM Research has revealed. Pictured is a house being leased for $1,850 a week

This upmarket area south-east of Melbourne is home to transport and logistics billionaire Lindsay Fox and takes in Cheviot Beach, where Liberal prime minister Harold Holt drowned in December 1967. 

Palm Beach, at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River on Sydney's Northern Beaches, had Australia's third highest rental vacancy rate of 18 per cent, despite the likes of billionaire arts patron Gretel Packer having a weekender there.

The Pittwatter peninsula enclave, where Home and Away is filmed, saw its rental vacancy rate increase from 16.7 per cent in May.

Median weekly rents in Palm Beach have also dived by 33.8 per cent during the past year, falling from $1,369 to $906.

SQM Research's head of property data analytics Anthony Ishac said Australia's border closures and COVID-19 travel restrictions had seen 'top end' holiday destinations 'take a massive hit' as AirBnD and short-stay accommodation demand dried up.

Palm Beach, at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River on Sydney's Northern Beaches, had Australia's third highest rental vacancy rate of 18 per cent

'If we think about these markets, particularly Palm Beach and Portsea, and some other coastal markets, they're more lifestyle holiday markets,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Billionaire arts patron Gretel Packer owns property in Palm Beach

'There's apprehension about whether it's the right time to take an extended holiday.'  

Another beachside town, Middleton an hour's drive south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, has Australia's second highest rental vacancy rate of 24.5 per cent.

Portsea, Palm Beach and Middleton had even higher rental vacancy rates than the centre of Sydney and Melbourne where coronavirus shutdowns caused double-digit job losses.

Sydney's city centre last month had a vacancy rate of 13.8 per cent, down from 16.2 per cent in May as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. 

Melbourne's Southbank precinct had a rental vacancy rate of 16.2 per cent.

Brisbane's central business district had a vacancy rate of 14 per cent in June, up from 13.3 per cent. 

The beachside peninsulas on the Northern Beaches and Victoria's Mornington Peninsula have an even more dramatic proportion of empty investment properties than the centre of Australia's biggest cities struggling with COVID-19 shutdowns

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