Rental vacancy continues to tighten across Queensland, with the majority of cities now seeing vacancy rates fall to below three per cent, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
The first major contributor to this tightening vacancy is the slower sales activity over the past 12 months, leaving potential first homebuyers stationary in rental properties, REIQ chief executive officer Anton Kardash said.
The second contributor is the series of natural disasters experienced in the first half of 2011, causing many homeowners and renters to seek short-term accommodation elsewhere while dwellings were under repair.
“However, this pent-up demand is now starting to dissipate with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing increasing numbers of investors and first-timers coming back into the market,” Kardash said.
The number of Queensland property investors increased in February, up from the same period 12 months ago, according to the ABS lending finance figures.
Across Brisbane the rental vacancy rate dropped to 1.7 per cent, from 2.3 per cent in December 2011. Inner Brisbane demonstrated an even tighter 1.4 per cent vacancy rate, down from 1.9 per cent in December.
The Gold Coast rental market is also tightening, with well-priced houses preferred over units. The vacancy rate shifted from 5.2 per cent in June 2011 down to 3.9 per cent in March this year.
Looking north to the Sunshine Coast, the vacancy rate has dropped from 4.9 per cent to 3.1 per cent over the same period.
Elsewhere in Queensland, the Rockhampton market recorded a very tight one per cent vacancy rate in March, the tightest rental market across the state’s major regions with tenancies filling in less than a week. This should ease though, with local agents reporting renewed investor activity.
Mackay’s vacancy rate has eased from 0.7 per cent in December down to 1.7 per cent in March due to leases expiring and the upper end of the market slowing. Agents report more than 10 applicants per listing. Investor activity is rising.
The Cairns rental market is improving after a long spell of inactivity. The March vacancy rate was recorded at 2.5 per cent, down from 3.8 per cent in the same period 12 months ago. A recovery in the tourism industry and improving job opportunities is reportedly the trigger for a tightening rental market.