Pensioners hurt by Gympie's growing rental market
GYMPIE'S aging residents could find themselves squeezed out of the region's booming rental market.
With prices rising as the market continues to thrive, and Real Estate Institute Queensland data showing residential vacancy rates in Gympie dropping from 3.7% in September last year to 2.2% in March this year, the boom was having an unfortunate side-effect for older residents on a fixed pension.
It was compounded by the region's expected aging demographic over the next decade.
Gympie Regional Realty property manager Debra Mason said it was a trend which had flown under the radar, but was now becoming visible as the region experienced the largest rental price jump she had seen in 13 years.
"It's great for real estate, we're pushing the market up, but when they come on the aged pension they can't afford it,” Ms Mason said.
"It's something either no one has thought about, or no one's thought to do something about.
"It's a new thing.
"No one has thought about our pensioners.”
Ms Mason said elderly applicants were now faced with fewer rental options.
"The only thing available now is the units,” she said.
This became difficult if the prospective renter had a
pet for company, because pets were often not allowed, she said.
Harcourts Gympie co-owner Kellie O'Neill agreed it was a concern, and had become more noticeable over the past two months.
Mrs O'Neill said there was one unit for rent last month which attracted many elderly applicants.
"I know in the last 6-12 months that property has jumped $30-$40,” she said.
She said cost was the biggest barrier for pensioners in the market, and was something which should be addressed in the not-too-distant future.
Left unaddressed, Ms Mason said older people could be forced to move in with their families.
"There is nothing and it breaks my heart,” she said.