FILE IMAGE Yvonne Gardiner

New rental figures show mining towns bouncing back

LAST year, some Emerald rental homes were vacant for up to six months after tenants moved out.

But the market is improving as jobs, and confidence, returns to the Central Highlands with real estate agent Wendy Thornberry saying new tenants were usually ready to move into newly-vacated houses almost immediately.

Principal of Elders Emerald, Ms Thornberry has been in the real estate game for 15 years and has seen plenty of ups and downs in the region which is usually at the mercy of mining busts and booms.

She said her experiences on the ground in Emerald over the last few months were mirroring the latest REIQ figures which showed vacancy rates had dropped dramatically in a year.

In the December 2016 quarter, vacancy rates for the local government area were sitting at 10 per cent.

By December 2017, vacancy rates for the quarter were down to 4.2 per cent.

"There's a lot more positivity around and people are coming into town,” she said.

"From all accounts it looks like it will continue with solid renting.

"I think supply and demand is starting to catch up with each other and levelling out. We haven't got long vacancy rates which is good.”

In Rockhampton, rates have remained fairly stable (from 4.3 per cent in December 2016 quarter to 5 per cent in December 2017).

Although in the March quarter, vacancy rates had hit 8.6 per cent indicating some fluctuation over the year in the rental market.

Rental Tenancies Authority figures released in January also showed prices were on the way up across much of Central Queensland.

While the average three-bedroom rental in Rockhampton dropped from $280 a week to $270 between December 2016 and December 2017, in other areas prices lifted by close to 10%.

Clermont saw its average three-bedrooom house price rise from $220 to $240, Moranbah went from $210 to $220, Emerald rose $20 to $240 and Blackwater went up from $185 to $190.

Livingstone's tenancy rates have also tightened significantly over the year, almost halving from 10 per cent in the December quarter 2016 to 5.7 per cent in December 2017.

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