REIQ highlights 'very tight' vacancy rates

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland says tight vacancy rates have led to pressure mounting on rental markets in the state’s south-east region.

According to the REIQ March quarter 2016 Vacancy Rate Report, areas such as the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Caboolture, Caloundra and Noosa are all experiencing vacancy rates of less than 2 per cent.

REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said the data highlights that vacancy rates are “very tight” and shows that specific rental markets in south-east Queensland are crying out for greater investment and more housing construction.

“Gold Coast vacancy rates have been operating at less than 2.5 per cent for more than two years and this is clear evidence that there is continuing strong rental demand,” she said.

“The Sunshine Coast has had tight conditions for more than four years and rental accommodation can be very challenging to find – this area could support new dwelling construction.”

REIQ data also revealed Brisbane vacancy rates dropped from 3.1 per cent to 3.0 per cent over the quarter.

“The inner 5km ring is at 3.3 per cent and the middle ring is at 2.5 per cent – these levels continue to fall within what the REIQ considers the healthy range,” Ms Mercorella said.

“We are clearly not oversupplied – at this stage.”

Meanwhile, vacancy rates recorded weak results outside the capital city and south-east areas, with most regional centres continuing to experience the consequences of the mining downturn, according to Ms Mercorella.

“Gladstone has pushed out to 11.3 per cent, the highest in the state, and this is concerning,” she said.

“The closure of the LNG project continues to have an impact as workers leave in search of jobs elsewhere.”

REIQ data showed vacancy rates eased from 3.9 per cent to 5.2 per cent in Bundaberg and from 6.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent in Rockhampton.

Meanwhile, the data revealed vacancy rates tightened from 9.3 per cent to 8.1 per cent in Mackay and from 6.4 per cent to 6.0 per cent in Townsville.

Cairns remains the standout regional centre, with vacancy rates further tightening from 2.5 per cent to 2.1 per cent over the quarter.

[Related: Investors not to blame for affordability crisis]

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