CQ rental vacancies hit lowest figure in seven years
WITH the Central Queensland rental market performing better than it has in a decade, real estate agents are saying now is the time to buy an investment property in the region.
The residential vacancy report, detailing current rates across Queensland, shows Rockhampton's rental market is the tightest since 2011.
Rockhampton recorded a 2 per cent vacancy rate for the December quarter.
The last time the market was under that was in December 2011 at a very tight 0.9 per cent, after that was 2 per cent in June 2011.
The December result marks seven successive quarters of reductions in residential vacancies for Rockhampton, with the last increase seen in the March 2017 quarter when it rose from 4.3 per cent to 8.6 per cent.
Since then the rate has dropped by more than six per cent.
Rebecca Trott, business development manager with Pat O'Driscoll in Rockhampton, says the figures are indicative of the population growth currently being seen in Rockhampton.
"For at least the last year we have really noticed the numbers decreasing with the vacancy rates across the whole region,” she said.
"We put that down to the number of new people coming to the area rather than just moving around town, which is what we had seen for a number of years.
"Now we are actually seeing people move back to the area for employment opportunities in the mining industry, as well as health care professionals, the education system, as well as lots of contractors and builders.
"So these are people that are coming to the region and renting, which is good news.”
Sitting consistently around the 2 per cent figure for the past six months, rental property vacancies at Pat O'Driscoll Real Estate in Rockhampton show just how competitive the market is.
"We hovered around that three to 4 per cent in the first six months of 2018 but towards the end of the year it really tightened up to around that 2 per cent consistently,” Ms Trott said.
"If you are looking at our agency, our vacancy rate is 1.9 per cent.
"It's a really competitive market at the moment and we are finding that there are that many applications coming in, where people are applying for a property before they have viewed it.”
On the coast, the report shows the vacancy rate increased from 1.4 per cent in September 2018 to 2.1 per cent in December, but local real estate agencies are noticing the opposite.
Esme Coren, principle at Yeppoon Real Estate, says they consistently have very few available properties.
"We have been running under 1per cent vacancy,” she said.
"The vacancy rate has been at about 1.4 or under since September, so out of 500 properties we would only ever have about three that are available or haven't been under application and approved by a landlord.”
After the heavy impact from the mining downturn a number of years ago, Ms Coren said the low vacancy numbers across the region were keeping landlords and investors happy.
"As you can imagine, a number of years ago, it was around the nine and 10 per cent mark,” she said
"So these figures are very attractive for landlords and investors buying rental properties because there are sometimes as many as five applicants per property and especially for family homes.”
The reason for the increase, according to Ms Coren, is the higher number of people moving to the region, rather than moving homes in the region as seen in past years.
"So we have noticed that people are coming to the area and renting for six or 12 months, falling in love with the Capricorn Coast and then purchase the home; that happens a lot,” she said.
"We did a survey about two or three years ago and it showed a large majority of our buyers came from within three hours of Yeppoon.
"Initially we thought that may have been incorrect, but what it told us was a lot of renters that came from elsewhere were buying after renting here for a period.”
In Rockhampton, Ms Trott said an increase in investors had helped the figures remain low for the last few months.
"We are also seeing a lot more investors coming to the market right now, which is really positive news for the region,” she said.
"For the last 12 months or so, we have found that a lot of investors have been people that are moving out of their homes and placing it on the rental market.
"We are also seeing more specific investors, so people who are purchasing the home as an investment property and putting it on the rental market.”
CQ RENTAL FIGURES 2017/2018:
Rockhampton: 2017 - 2.3%, 2018 - 2.0%
Livingstone: 2017 - 1.4%, 2018 - 2.1%
Gladstone: 2017 - 4.1%, 2018 - 4.2%
Mackay: 2017 - 0.9%, 2018 - 1.7%
Banana: 2017 - N/A, 2018 - 3.0%
C.Highlands: 2017 - N/A, 2018 - 4.1%
Isaac: 2017 - N/A, 2018 - N/A