The first quarter of 2013 saw mixed fortunes for rental markets across Queensland, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) results.
The REIQ March residential rental vacancy rate survey found that while demand remained strong for rental properties in south east Queensland, some key mining areas experienced significant vacancy rate falls.
The results highlight the profound influence resource companies have on some regional rental markets, though most major regions throughout the state had posted a vacancy rate of 2.5 per cent or less. A vacancy rate of three per cent is generally considered to be the equilibrium point of supply and demand.
“Mackay and Gladstone both recorded significant increases in vacancy rates as at the end of March, due to less demand for rental properties from mining companies and an element of increases in the supply of rental stock,” REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said.
“On the other hand, Toowoomba retained its mantle as one of the tightest rental markets in the state, and Bundaberg also recorded constrained rental conditions due to the floods in their region earlier this year.”
The REIQ March vacancy rate for Bundaberg was 0.8 per cent, down from 2.4 per cent at the end of December. A number of REIQ accredited agents have been receiving between at least six and 10 applicants per rental listing.
The rental market tightened even further in the Toowoomba region, with a vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent recorded as at the end of March. Over the past year, vacancy levels have remained extremely low. During the survey, REIQ accredited agents made note of a chronic undersupply of the ‘right’ property to meet rental demand.
In Brisbane, the vacancy rate nudged slightly higher to 2.1 per cent for March, up from two per cent previously. Brisbane’s inner city recorded a vacancy rate of two per cent, unchanged from December 2012. While the rental market remains constrained, some REIQ accredited agents have noted lower demand within specific areas now that the academic intake period has ceased.
“Even though the academic calendar is in full swing, the Brisbane rental market remains competitive with about two to five applications per rental listing,” Mr Kardash said.
“Part of the reason the market is certainly a case of more demand than supply is that first home buyers are largely remaining on the sidelines of the sales market, following the removal of the First Home Owner Grant last year.”
A vacancy rate of 2.5 per cent was recorded on the Gold Coast at the end of March, with rental market conditions continuing to tighten in the region. Improving employment conditions are no doubt partly a catalyst for the recent drops in the coast’s vacancy rate.
The rental market in the Sunshine Coast region eased to 2.2 per cent, but remains at tight levels.
Throughout the Sunshine Coast region vacant properties are attracting between two and five applicants per listing.