Brian Buckton from Gracemere. Picture: Aden Stokes
Brian Buckton from Gracemere. Picture: Aden Stokes

‘I will be homeless’: Gracemere renter fears the worst

A Gracemere resident is afraid he is facing homelessness after being told the house he is renting will be put up for sale.

Brian Buckton is a 65-year-old disability pensioner and is currently renting a three-bedroom house on Taramoore Road in Gracemere for $300 a week.

Mr Buckton said he moved to Gracemere from Mackay about two years ago because the rates were “too high” and he had family in Rockhampton, Mount Morgan, and Biloela.

He said he still owned the property, which boasted two houses, in Mackay and was renting it out at $740 a week.

He said last month he was told by his real estate agent the owner wanted to put the house he was renting on the market.

He said he had made an indication he wanted to buy the house.

“They gave me 30 to 60 days to find finance,” he said.

“With my income from my property in Mackay and Centrelink payment from the disability pension I am making about $63,000 a year, so I thought I should be right to get a loan from the bank.

“Three banks, four mortgage brokers and two financial providers, have all said I have to sell the property up in Mackay and then they may look at giving me a loan to buy the house I’m living in.

“At this point in time, I will be homeless at the end of October when my lease runs out.”

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He said moving back into the house he rented out in Mackay wasn’t an option.

“It would cost me about $6500 to move and I don’t have that anymore,” he said.

“I also have it rented out for a year, so the earliest I could move would be in February next year and that’s later than when my lease runs out here.”

He said he was looking at getting a $255,000 loan, however, was finding it difficult with most banks saying there was a “serviceability problem” because once he sold his property in Mackay he would have to rely solely on the pension as his source of income.

“I told them I wouldn’t have to pay rent because the money that comes out of there will buy the house,” he said.

“I asked about a small personal loan and they said the serviceability thing again and that I wouldn’t be able to afford it.

“The banks say a single person on a disability pension will spend $1900 a month.

“I just stay at home and do a bit of gardening. I told them I had got my costs down from $1000 to $800 and all the other stuff was for insurance and rego, but they said they couldn’t count on any of my income.

“How on earth will any pensioner or anybody who hasn’t got a job be able to get a loan of any kind to get into a house?”

Last week, Mr Buckton said he went to Commonwealth Bank and was more optimistic about the future.

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“We are looking at a bridging loan for a year, interest only, and I have to sell the property in Mackay,” he said.

“If I don’t get this loan then I am looking at moving to Mount Morgan or Blackwater; I would rather Mount Morgan.

“They sound favourable, it is just a matter of sorting out the property in Mackay.

“Nothing is set in concrete, but it has given me a direction.”

An issue facing many of Mr Buckton’s neighbours was the increase in rent, something he said he wouldn’t have to face until October.

“The next-door neighbour was told once their lease runs out their rent would go up from $310 to $380,” he said.

“It’s a husband and wife with four girls and neither are working.

“They have had to go to Anglicare because they need emergency housing.

“On the other side is a single mum with one baby and she was told her rent was going up $40 a week.

“People down the road told me they had friends who were coming up from down south and were paying $370 a week. They inspected a house here for $340 a week and to make sure they got it they told the real estate agent they were prepared to go to $370.”

REIQ Rockhampton Zone chair Noel Livingstone. Picture: Sharyn O'Neill
REIQ Rockhampton Zone chair Noel Livingstone. Picture: Sharyn O'Neill

REIQ Rockhampton Zone chair Noel Livingstone said the rental situation in the Rockhampton region was “critical”.

Mr Livingstone said there was a shortage in rentals, with vacancy rates at 0.2 per cent.

“We have no vacant rental properties across the board,” he said.

“It is caused by a number of things, such as jobs floating around through infrastructure projects.

“You also have a lot of people whose houses were on the rental market that had previously tried to sell, and now the opportunity is there they are selling.

“We have reduced supply because of that.

“The upside of that is now you have investors back in the marketplace that haven’t been there for some time.”

He said every lease that had expired and was due for renewal was being reassessed to make sure it was in line with the current market.

“It’s real tough out there at the moment for renters but hopefully as we see a lot more investors in the marketplace it will alleviate that to some extent,” he said.

“We will see what happens.”

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