SUNSHINE Coast landlords are continuing to enjoy a golden run, with new figures showing a vacancy rate for rental properties of just 1.9%.
But while it’s good news for investors and the local economy, the lack of vacancies is making it difficult for people looking for a place to live.
The figures released by the REIQ showed the Sunshine Coast’s market had loosened by 0.8% but was still the third tightest in the state, behind the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay (both 1.3%).
At the other end of the scale, Mackay had a 9.4% vacancy rate as the mining boom evaporated.
The figures were released as the annual Anglicare rental affordability snapshot confirmed a widespread failure of the private rental market to service the needs of regional Australians on low incomes.
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While REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella welcomed the figures as good news for local economies, the Anglicare report showed only 7.3% of all 14,000 regional rental properties on the market last week were affordable for those on the minimum wage.
The results for single parents were even worse, revealing those on parenting payments in regional areas had to compete for just 3.7% of all advertised properties.
Those on Newstart could afford just 0.6% of the properties available.
“This (the new figures) is a strong indicator that other sectors of the economy may be rebounding, and we are buoyed by this news,” Ms Mercorella said.
Lynn Kalwy, of Kennedy Property at Pacific Paradise, said older tenants on fixed incomes were feeling the rental squeeze as landlords raised rates to reflect increased demand and sharp rises in insurance premiums following recent natural disasters.
While retirees and older people were the best tenants, Ms Kalwy said those on pensions could afford to pay only so much.
“The public housing is not there like it used to be and it is becoming a struggle,” she said. “There is not much there for them after rent.
“As prices go higher they will be at a disadvantage.
“We had an older tenant recently who couldn’t get government housing here and was told the only available places were in Gympie.”
Ms Kalwy said vacancies on the Maroochy River north shore went quickly as they became available.
Duplexes range from the low to mid-$300s and as high as $390 for a quality property.
Homes, depending on their state, ranged upward from the high $300s.
The only home currently on her books was in Mudjimba, with the landlord seeking $595 per week.
North Shore Realty’s Jay Pashley said the firm’s rental book had been tight for the past 18 months.
He said it had been common to receive 1000 inquiries a month up until March, when they had inexplicably dropped away to just 300.
Inquiries had rebounded this month to the earlier numbers.
“It feels as though we are short of property,” Mr Pashley said.
But apparently not short of people willing to pay up to $1000 a week for prime homes and units in beachfront locations.
“Three hundred dollars a week will get a one-bedroom studio above a garage at Town of Seaside – $700 or $800 a week for a house is not out of the question and $1000 a week is not uncommon,” Mr Pashley said.
“People with money who are prepared to sit on the sidelines to see if they like living here and can find employment will pay $50,000 in rent in advance to secure the right place.”
RENTAL VACANCY RATES
Gold Coast 1.3%
Moreton Bay 1.3%
Sunshine Coast 1.9%
Logan City 2.1%
Greater Brisbane 2.2%
Fraser Coast 2.3%
Redland City 2.4%
Brisbane City 2.5%