AAP

Tenants face 10% rent hike

NEWS that rents could rise by up to 10% this year was a nasty surprise to Nicholas Bitot.

“Rent is expensive in Bundaberg for what you get — by the time I’ve paid my rent and food, that’s more than half my wages for the week,” Mr Bitot said.

“It will be a real struggle if it goes up, it’s bad enough as it is.”

But the situation could be about to get worse for people like Mr Bitot, as competiton increases for rental tenancies.

Real Estate Institute Queensland Bundaberg zone chairman Michael Dempsey confirmed yesterday that rental vacancies were at a year-long low.

“At the beginning of the year we had a 6.5% vacancy rate and now it’s down to 2.5%,” Mr Dempsey said.

“Houses are generally about $5 to $10 dearer per week than they were a year ago.”

He said that figure was likely to go up, as demand increased.

“We could see a 10% rent increase, which would see a median rent of $250 a week go up to $275,” Mr Dempsey said.

“The higher interest rates could scare people off buying investment properties, which means rental prices could rise again — it’s supply and demand.”

He said competition was most fierce for people wanting to rent three-bedroom houses in the $250 to $300 per week price bracket.

Real estate agent owner John Fidden said he had a record low number of houses available for rent.

“Out of 250 rental properties that we manage, only three are vacant for rent,” he said.

“So if people can afford to pay higher prices to guarantee a place, they will.”

However, he said some renters would be hit hard by landlords trying to cash in on inflated prices.

“When you get pensioners on single pensions, it’s not fair to raise the rent on them if the landlord’s costs haven’t gone up,” Mr Fidden said.

“Some landlords will have to look at whether their tenants can afford rent rises, because otherwise they will lose them.”



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