Renters continue to pay more despite pandemic
A SPIKE in rental costs throughout Central Queensland has residents reaching deeper into their pockets during what is already a tough time for many.
New data released by the Residential Tenancies Authority reveals a steady rise in weekly rental prices over a two-year period for the March quarter - with this year's COVID-19 pandemic no exception.
It comes after an unexpected surge for rentals was also revealed during the crisis, likely attributed to an influx of new residents and their employment with upcoming major projects.
Rockhampton was not immune - the cost of a two-bedroom house increased from an average $230 to $265 per week, while three-bed townhouses jumped by roughly $30 to sit at $360.
Areas surrounding Allenstown, Depot Hill and Wandal experienced the largest overall increase, rising from $235 to nearly $300.
Despite the growth, Professionals Livingston & Malloy's principal Noel Livingston said Rockhampton's rental market remained reasonably priced and in line with market averages.
"The demand is still strong enough that those prices will hold in the rental market because we're still seeing competition for rental properties as they become vacant," he said.
Only a $20 increase was recorded for two-bedroom houses in Livingstone Shire, bringing the quarter's weekly average to $280.
Mining areas throughout Central Highlands also experienced their share of surges as tight tenancy rates continued.
Both Blackwater and Emerald previously sat at an average $340 two years ago.
Today, the latter now remains around $400; Blackwater increasing to a marginally cheaper $375.
Unfortunately, Clermont's nearly quarterly decline in tenants is likely responsible for a whopping $70 average increase to the market - bringing its average to $320.
With vacancy rates as low as 1.4 per cent in Rockhampton and 1.2 per cent in Livingstone, Mr Livingstone admitted COVID-19 had little impact on demand for the area's rentals.
"With the rental market, in particular the virus and all the associated problems, it doesn't seem to have affected us one bit."
As time goes on, he suggested, the demand could potentially wane due to widespread job losses.
He admitted while current times were unprecedented, he believed the cost of rentals would likely continue to grow within reason.
"I think we're going to hold on our ground, I think we're still on that roll that we were on [before the virus]. At the moment, I don't see any problem with our rental market."