Cheaper rents on offer
AFFORDABLE property developer Horizon Housing Company will make its debut in the Gympie market this weekend, releasing five properties at the lower end of the rental price range.
HHC chief executive Jason Cubit said the company aimed to help change Gympie's status as Queensland's most rent and mortgage stressed region.
He said HHC, which has more than 800 "affordable" homes throughout the state, will release the Gympie properties under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, giving tenants a 20% reduction on market rental rates.
The homes are on Gympie's southside, in Wisteria Lane and Gardenia Court, and include two duplex units, two three-bedroom villas and one four-bedroom house.
They will be rented out from $212 per week, Mr Cubit said.
Gympie's Property Management Plus principal Tarsha Johnstone said the average rent on a basic three-bedroom home with one bathroom in Gympie was $250-$260 a week.
Gympie Regional Realty property manager chief Deb Mason agreed that the average rental in Gympie was $250 for a basic three-bedroom home, but said two-bedroom units in the heart of Gympie and out of town could be rented for $180-$185 a week.
A fully renovated two-bedroom unit could be rented for $220, as could a lower quality, two-bedroom home close to Centro.
Four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes were rented for $290-$330 a week, she said.
Mr Cubit said he expected the HHC homes would be secured quickly and hoped his company would be able to roll out more affordable housing in Gympie in the near future.
"There is certainly a demonstrated need for more affordable housing in Gympie, with almost half of the area's residents experiencing rent stress, meaning they are spending more than 30% of their income on accommodation," he said.
"Although housing prices in Gympie are relatively lower than some metropolitan regions, affordability is a relative term - rent and mortgage costs need to be considered based on average income and living expenses."
Ms Mason said an interesting phenomenon for Gympie was the arrival here of some families from mining towns like Mackay who were either pushed out of the housing and rental markets by sky-high prices or who had taken the option of renting their homes out for a huge sum of money and moving to Gympie where rent was much lower.
The problem they face when they got here however was finding employment.
She said GRR had been approached by two such families in one week recently.
Mr Cubit said NRAS homes were a practical solution to the issue of rent stress.
"We are offering subsidies on rent so people have more money in their pocket," he said.
"In fact, under the NRAS, tenants can save almost $5000 per year.
"We are offering product to meet the needs of different people - from young couples and families through to retirees."
What is it?
The National Rental Affordability Scheme offers financial incentives to the business sector and community organisations to build and rent dwellings to low and moderate income households for at least 20% less than market rates.
It aims to:
Increase new affordable rental housing
Reduce rental costs for low and moderate income households
Encourage large-scale investment