The strengthening Queensland sales market has eased the pressure on the rental market, new research has shown.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) Residential Rental Survey carried out in December across all REIQ accredited agencies, a majority of the state recorded higher vacancy rates compared to the previous three months.
REIQ chairman Rob Honeycombe said that it was usual for one market to thrive more than the other.
“Over the past few years, it has been the rental sector that has been the better performing segment of the market,” he said.
“Now, while the sales market returns to healthy levels of activity after a period of subdued volumes, the rental market is experiencing a slight easing of vacancy rates after a long period of tight rental conditions. The rental market is also cyclical, with January and February being the peak periods for demand.
“While rental markets within the mining regions are struggling with both supply and demand imbalances, the outlook for the rest of the Queensland rental market remains positive as business returns to normal now the Christmas holidays have passed.”
According to the survey data, over one third of REIQ member agencies reported an increase in investor activity, which subsequently added stock to the rental pool.
In addition to this, the end of the year is historically a period of lower tenant demand, with many vacating over the Christmas and New Year period - usually in a move to another area for either work or educational reasons. Over recent weeks, however, there has been an increase in enquiry and demand from tenants, as is usual for January.
In the Brisbane City Local Government Area, the vacancy rate as at the end of December was 3.2 per cent, up from 2.3 per cent at the end of September. A vacancy rate of around three per cent, however, is deemed to represent healthy levels of supply and demand.
Across Brisbane the results are varied. Inner Brisbane - suburbs within five kilometres of the CBD - recorded the highest increase, up 1.7 percentage points to 4.1 per cent.
“Local agents have reported a slight oversupply of rental properties, with a number of new developments coming onto the market,” Mr Honeycombe said.
“Also, at the end of the year we generally experience lower tenant demand as residents vacate for work transfers or the end of the university year. From mid-January, demand increases again as tenants begin their search for their new property.
“Across the greater Brisbane area, around 40 per cent of REIQ agents surveyed reported an increase in investor activity. However, tenant demand remains strong in most areas, keeping vacancy rates at low levels. The increased investor activity was most notable in the Moreton Bay area.”
In regional Queensland, markets continue to ease substantially in mining regions, with Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone’s vacancy rates blowing out to around seven per cent.
Toowoomba continues to post tight rental conditions, with a vacancy rate of 1.3 per cent at the end of 2013.