Real Estate

5 May, 2024

Rental vacancies too low

RELATIVELY stable, yet dangerously low vacancy rates over the first quarter of 2024, are cold comfort to renters desperately trying to find a place to call home in Queensland.

Renters are desperate to find a property to move into in the Far North. Picture: Antonio GuillemiStock
Renters are desperate to find a property to move into in the Far North. Picture: Antonio GuillemiStock

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) residential vacancy report for the March 2024 quarter shows rental availability remains at critical lows across the sunshine state.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said, of the 50 local government areas and sub regions covered in the report, vacancy rates fell in 22, were stable in 10 and climbed in 18, compared to the previous quarter.

She said more than half of the areas reported on were in extremely tight territory, hovering at one per cent or below, and the overall state vacancy rate was an astonishingly tight 0.9 per cent.

Cassowary Coast was at 1.3 per cent while Cairns was 0.7 per cent. There were no figures for Douglas shire.  Ms Mercorella said, while the data suggested that vacancy rates were relatively stable, the  rental market was in no healthy state and it would be a long road to recovery.

“Another quarter and it’s sadly the same old story of seriously scant rental availability right across Queensland,” she said.

“This is not a pattern that any of us want to be seeing, report after report, but it is the reality for so many renters looking for rental housing in our state.

“In this highly competitive market, most renters are aware that they will need to start looking promptly as possible to grant themselves enough time to secure their next rental.

“Property managers are still overwhelmed by the volumes of applications and the inability to give every applicant a property, no matter how perfect a tenant they would make.

“For prospective tenants, completing applications and viewing rental properties can be very time consuming and a difficult juggle around work and other commitments, but are necessary steps for the best chance of success.

“However, when rental supply is at crisis levels, especially at the affordable end of the market, inevitably it means some rental applicants aren’t ever making it to the top of the pile, are left feeling exhausted, and could be running out of options.

“This is where we need to see government support step up in the form of social housing and rental assistance to keep the most vulnerable people in our communities housed.

“At the same time, the longer-term solutions including a concerted effort towards improving productivity and affordability of the construction of new dwellings are essential to fixing this supply issue.

“Our view is the incentives given to institutional investors should be extended to private investors, acknowledging the crucial role they play in housing Queenslanders and encouraging them to continue to do so.”


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