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NSW uni students facing rental squeeze

17 February 2017 Tim Neary

For thousands of students set to return to university by the end of February, tight vacancy rates are making the hunt for accommodation in Sydney and Newcastle even more urgent, according to a leading real estate group.

Raine & Horne says there are slim pickings in the suburbs close to the University of Sydney and University of Newcastle, with vacancy rates under 1 per cent the norm.

According to the group’s executive chairman Angus Raine, a combination of “persistence, punctuality and presentation” is essentials if students want to secure a rental home.

“There’s no escaping the fact you have to wear out some shoe leather and inspect as many rental homes as you can,” Mr Raine said.


“Treat an inspection with a property manager like a job interview. This means smart casual attire and clean shoes rather than shorts and thongs.”

Mr Raine said would-be tenants should consider bringing their parents along to inspections.

“It might sound cheesy, but it often works,” he said, adding, “Getting parents to counter-sign a lease agreement can also help as this makes them jointly responsible for the lease, which will be a big tick with some property managers.”.

Meanwhile, Raine & Horne Newtown’s co-principal Gerard Hill said as many as 30 groups show up for inspections in Sydney’s inner city, where the University of Technology and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital are also located.


“In January, we had 2,519 tenant inquiries. We are expecting similar inquiry numbers, if not more, in February, as new and existing university students flood the rental market in suburbs closest to the universities, such as Newtown, Darlington, Erskinville and Enmore.”

In NSW’s second-largest city, Newcastle, vacancy rates within walking distance of the University of Newcastle are close to zero.

Raine & Horne Newcastle’s student accommodation specialist Mecca Powell said there has been an increase of students from Japan, China and Korea seeking rental accommodation close to the university.

“Accommodation near the university is being snapped up almost immediately, with some rooms being leased even before the previous tenant has vacated,” Ms Powell said.

Raine & Horne Newcastle manages more than 100 off-campus rooms in houses and apartments in suburbs bordering the University of Newcastle, such as Mayfield, Hamilton, Waratah, Waratah West and Birmingham Gardens.

Angus Raine’s tips to beat the rental squeeze in 2017:

1. Treat inspections with property managers like job interviews;
2. Be punctual and present yourself professionally;
3. For younger people, it helps if mum or dad is with you at appointments and/or they offer a rental guarantee;
4. References from employers, university lecturers, school teachers, a family doctor or solicitor – and especially former property managers or landlords – are essential;
5. Bring ID such as your driver’s licence or passport, and bank statements; and
6. If you’re offered a property, accept it immediately or you could miss out.

NSW uni students facing rental squeeze
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