Bundy rental vacancies drop to near-record low
BUNDABERG property owners who bought at the top of the market a decade ago are now selling up and are one of the reasons renters are finding it difficult to get short-term accommodation.
The REIQ has released its residential vacancy figures for the December quarter which show the region's market has tightened to near-record lows.
Bundaberg's vacancy rate has dropped to 1.7 per cent, a number that hasn't been seen in five years.
In March 2013, vacancy rates dipped to 0.8 per cent and six months later rose just one per cent to 1.8 per cent.
The nearest the market has been to these lows since then was in June last year when it recorded 3.6 per cent.
Last quarter vacancies sat at four per cent and the drop has taken REIQ Bundaberg Zone chair Le-Anne Allan by surprise.
"The Bundaberg rental market tightened considerably in the December quarter, probably a little more than we expected,” she said.
"The vacancy rate of 1.7 per cent is officially classified as a tight market and this means it can be difficult for tenants to secure rental accommodation.
"However, this is only one quarter and the REIQ is maintaining a watching brief at this stage before we make any conclusions about the rental market.”
Ms Allan said there were a combination of factors that had contributed to the tightening.
"Probably one of the most significant factors contributing to the sudden tightening has been a pool of investors selling their property to owner-occupiers. This has reduced the available rental stock considerably. It's had a significant impact,” she said.
"Factors influencing those investors to sell have been mixed. For some it's a time-of-life factor, with retirement about to begin they no longer want to be landlords and they want to realise the investment value for their retirement plans. For others, they bought at the top of the market about a decade ago and now understand the market is unlikely to return to those levels, so they've sold up while prices are reasonable.”
Ms Allan said aside from the residential vacancy rates, the Bundaberg property market was showing all the signs of having a stand-out year.
"The real estate market is really performing solidly at the moment. The median house price grew 2.9 per cent over the 12 months to the September quarter and activity over the last quarter of 2017 has been very strong. Early indicators this year is that it's going to be a solid year for sales and rentals,” she said.
Further south, residential vacancy markets on the Fraser, Sunshine and Gold coasts all tightened.
"Caloundra and Maroochydore have vacancies of just 0.4 per cent, the lowest rate ever recorded, and this means that tenants are going to struggle significantly to get a rental property,” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said.
"Markets that remain consistently tight will eventually see upward pressure on rents.”