An urgent appeal has gone out to investors with vacant properties in Queensland or those leasing them as holiday stays to release their homes for long-term rentals.
According to Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) chief executive Antonia Mercorella, there are approximately 200,000 properties in Queensland that are either sitting unused or currently only available for short-term stays.
The appeal was launched by REIQ in conjunction with Q Shelter, an advocacy group supporting the housing and homelessness sector, which together have sounded the alarm on the rental supply issues currently crippling the state.
Fiona Caniglia, executive director of Q Shelter, described the issue in urgent terms.
“The number of people in Queensland facing homelessness will grow significantly unless we see more properties coming onto the long term rental market,” she warned.
Ms Mercorella noted that recent flooding across large swathes of the state had exacerbated the undersupply of rental properties.
“The Queensland rental market was already at historically low vacancy rates leading up to the recent flood crisis. As we have seen, the catastrophic floods have resulted in thousands of rental and owner-occupied properties impacted by the floods, further reducing rental stock.
“At the same time, displaced tenants and owner-occupiers are now hitting the market desperate for alternative accommodation, adding to the already unprecedented demand for long term rental accommodation. It is difficult to see any way that this wave of demand can be met without the support of property owners moving their properties to the long term rental market,” Ms Mercorella commented.
Ms Caniglia added that this was one major way property owners could offer crucial assistance to victims of the latest floods, as well as those suffering long-term COVID losses.
“Those who have lost everything to the floods need the security of a home if they are to recover. The impacts of the pandemic proved that home is everything to our health and safety. The longer people live with the anxiety of not knowing where home will be, the greater the impact on our society,” she said.
Local real estate agencies are being briefed on the campaign so they are mobilised to assist investors who are willing to move their properties onto the long-term rental market. Property managers are ready to offer advice to those who might be unsure if their investment homes are suitable for tenants.
The REIQ and Q Shelter are also asking the Queensland government to ease the path for investors who wish to make the switch, with Ms Mercorella noting that government incentives could go a long way in stabilising the market.
“The current state Labor government could do a lot more to reward property owners who chose to place their property on the long-term rental market,” she said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.