Positive turn for Rocky’s renters compared to other CQ towns

YOU want cheaper rent? Head to Mackay.

Rockhampton's rental property market is now outshining the former Central Queensland boom towns of Gladstone and Mackay.

Just two years ago, a four-bedroom home in Mackay was renting for $530, $625 in Gladstone and $400 in Rockhampton.

Today, with the downturn in the resources sector, prices have slumped to $360 in Mackay and $395 in Gladstone, while Rockhampton's market has remained relatively stable at $380, new data reveals.

The latest Residential Tenancies Authority results for the March 2015 quarter show Rockhampton remains the most consistent rental market across the board, however there has been a drop in the number of new bonds.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland's Rockhampton zone chair Noel Livingston said there was no need for concern about any short-term drop in rental bonds because the cause was related to a rise in first-home buyers.

"There have been more first-home buyers because of price structure and affordability," Mr Livingston said.

"It's definitely a positive for the Rockhampton property market and great to see young ones being given opportunity to capitalise on lower interest rates."

The results show the number of new bonds lodged for a four-bedroom home has reduced from 100 in the December quarter to 70.

In comparison, Mackay recorded a downturn to 506 new bonds in the March quarter, while Gladstone's number decreased from 502 to 320.

The latest figures come just a week after a separate report identified Rockhampton as the sixth-best performing market in Australia during the past decade.

Rockhampton's median house figure rose from $137,000 in 2004 to $300,000 last year.

The most dramatic rental shifts shown by RTA figures were in Gladstone, Mackay and in the coalfields of Isaac, where the average weekly rent for a house fell by more than $85 in 12 months.

Renting a home in the coalfields near Moranbah cost an average $450 in 2014; it is now closer to $300 a week.

In Mackay, median rents fell from $430 to $360, a figure high enough to match median rents demanded on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, but a long way from the previous highs facing renters.

In Gladstone, rents in the past year fell approximately 8% from $430 to $395.

"We've been impacted across the board by the slow-down of the mining industry, that was a very big part of our investment market," Mr Livingston said.

"But fortunately we (Rockhampton) are outperforming our neighbours in Gladstone and Mackay because we survive on a diverse range of industry."

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