The Gympie region is facing a rental crisis.
The Gympie region is facing a rental crisis. Barry Leddicoat

Gympie region's rental crisis hits a new low

RENTAL vacancy rates in Gympie have plunged from almost 6 per cent in June 2011, to 0.5 per cent, making it most likely the toughest rental market in Queensland.

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What this means is that finding a place to rent in Gympie is hard, and rents are going up because of the high demand for what is available.

The March quarter vacancy rate data reveals generally improving rental markets across Queensland, according to REIQ's Q1 2018 Vacancy Rate report, released yesterday.

 

Residential vacancy rates in Queensland
Residential vacancy rates in Queensland contributed

According to the data, the only place in Queensland as tight as Gympie when it comes to finding a place to rent is Caloundra Coast. Even Noosa is easier to find a place to rent than Gympie.

Regional Queensland, in particular, has delivered good results in the wake of a two or three bleak years, the REIQ says.

CEO Antonia Mercorella said the regional vacancies improvements this quarter followed similar small improvements in 2017 Q4, and these small but steady improvements were the hallmarks of Queensland real estate.

 

Rentals are in short supply
Rentals are in short supply CONTRIBUTED

In the Gympie region, residential vacancy rates have had a stead slide from 3.7 per cent in September 2016, to 2.1 per cent in December 2016, 2.2 per cent in March 2017, 1 per cent last December and 0.5 per cent in March 2018.

 

Residential vacancy rates in Queensland
Residential vacancy rates in Queensland contributed

"Some of our markets, such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts, remain uncomfortably tight and we would like to see more investors enter those markets, however APRA's tightened lending criteria is not encouraging investors to consider property. The result is tight markets remain tight, despite good opportunities for landlords in those markets," she said.

Greater Brisbane's vacancy rates eased by 0.1 per cent to 2.7 per cent, which remains a healthy market.

Brisbane LGA also eased 0.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent, which indicates a healthy market for a second consecutive quarter.

Ipswich tightened marginally, moving from 3.1 to 3.0 per cent, but has maintained its position as a healthy rental market.

"This area is really a growth corridor for Queensland and we're seeing buyers and renters flocking to this part of the southeast corner. It's great news that the rental market is maintaining its stability and healthy status," Ms Mercorella said.

The Sunshine Coast, overall, has a vacancy rate of 1 per cent. Caloundra, along with Gympie, has the tightest vacancy rate in Queensland, with just 0.5 per cent of properties vacant.

"The Sunshine Coast is very challenging for renters who are looking for accommodation and we have said consistently for quite some time that this market would benefit from additional investor activity. The upward pressure on rents, as a result of this tight vacancy rate, will serve to push this market towards unaffordable," Ms Mercorella said.

Noosa is also very tight, at just 0.8 per cent.

"It's no surprise that renters are flocking to this market - it's such a stunning part of the world with employment opportunities - but additional supply into this market would be very beneficial," Ms Mercorella said.

Fraser Coast, which is made up of Hervey Bay and Maryborough, is a tight market, although it has eased somewhat. Fraser Coast has moved from 1.6 per cent in December to 1.9 per cent in March. Hervey Bay is now 1.8 per cent - a tight market - and Maryborough is now 2.5 per cent, which is a healthy market.

Cairns has also eased from 1.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent, moving this popular destination closer to a healthy rental market.

Bundaberg has moved from 1.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent. This is quite a jump, but there's likely to be a seasonal factor at work here with the transfer season impacting vacancies as people move in and leave for employment factors. Bundaberg remains a healthy rental market.

In continued good news for Gladstone, this market has fallen for a third consecutive quarter. Essentially this market has improved significantly since March 2016 when the vacancy rate was 11.3 per cent.

"We are seeing some stabilisation of the market in this area, with the rental market delivering some cautiously improving. It's been a long time coming and we'll continue to wait and see with this region," Ms Mercorella said.

Mackay is another good news story, with significant improvements from December 2016, when vacancies were 7.9 per cent.

"To see this market at 3.6 per cent, which although it is technically just outside the healthy range, it is still in reasonably good shape and this is very encouraging. It has been consistently improving over the past couple of years and we have much to be optimistic about," Ms Mercorella said.

The Rockhampton vacancy rate has been somewhat volatile in the recent years, however, we are starting to see some consistent downward trends emerge. The fourth consecutive quarterly fall has resulted in the lowest vacancy rate since September 2014, of 4.1 per cent.

Toowoomba has tightened to its lowest vacancy rate since September 2016. With just 2.3 per cent vacancies, this market is in the tight range.

Townsville has tightened again and this is now the lowest rate it's been since 2013. This is a continued good news story for this market which represents some of the best buying opportunities in Queensland at the moment. The vacancy rate is 3.8 per cent and while that is just outside the healthy range (healthy is 2.5 - 3.5 per cent) it is a vast improvement on the highest rate of 7.1 per cent in September 2016.

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