Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Sunshine Coast rental vacancies ‘pretty much zero’

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Sunshine Coast rental vacancies ‘pretty much zero’


REIQ calls for urgent action as rental vacancies hit 'pretty much zero' on the Sunshine Coast

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Rental vacancy on the Sunshine Coast is the tightest in ten years amid the region’s skyrocketing popularity as the top destination for interstate migration.

The vacancy rate is locked on an extremely low 0.3 per cent for a second consecutive quarter, the latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) data reveals.

A healthy rental market should have a vacancy rate of between 2.5 and 3.4 per cent but the Sunshine Coast has not been in that range since 2011.

REIQ Sunshine Coast zone chair Matt Diesel said the availability of rental homes was “pretty much zero unfortunately”.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr Diesel said.

“It’s stressful for tenants looking for properties and even for those selling and looking for somewhere to stay short term.”

The Sunshine Coast is drawing an influx of new interstate residents attracted to the region’s liveability, relative affordability and lifestyle.

But REIQ figures for the December 2020 quarter show the rental market hasn’t shifted in months.

Many areas such as Buddina (0.3%), Caloundra (0.3%), Maroochydore (0.5%), Noosa (0.4%) and Sunrise Beach (0.5%) have continued to tighten marginally over the last three months.

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By comparison Brisbane is considered the only healthy rental market currently in Queensland, with a 3.3 per cent vacancy rate, down from 5 per cent in the June quarter.

There are some tight spots in Brisbane such as the city’s middle ring which remains “extremely tight” including Hawthorne (1.4%), New Farm (1.9%), Paddington (2.1%) and St Lucia (1.7%).

Brisbane’s outer ring is even tighter, such as Ashgrove (1.6%), Camp Hill (1.3%), Cannon Hill (1.4%), Hamilton (1.9%), Holland Park (1.2%) and Moorooka (1.3%).

“It’s a similar scenario as you travel around the wider regions of Brisbane including Ipswich, Logan, Morton Bay and Redlands which all have uncomfortably low stock levels around 1%,” said REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.

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Across regional areas, Cairns (1.2%), Cassowary Coast (1.1%), Isaac (1.2%), Mareeba (1.5%) and the Whitsundays (1.4%) had vacancies rise above 1%.

However, for the remaining 90 per cent of regional Queensland, rental vacancies plunged further in places like Bundaberg (0.4%), Fraser Coast (0.6%), Hervey Bay (0.9%),
Mackay (0.7%), Toowoomba (0.7%) and Townsville (0.7%).

Rockhampton recorded the lowest rental vacancies for the December 2020 quarter at 0.2%.

Ms Mercola said the rental situation in Queensland was “unsustainable” and required “urgent action” to encourage investment and abolish stamp duty.

Mr Diesel said investors were starting to regain interest in the Sunshine Coast which was one way to improve the rental stock.

“Investors are getting no returns from their money in the bank, and bricks and mortar is the way to go and the Sunshine Coast’s low vacancy rate is the right place to invest,” he said.

Mr Diesel said reports of dozens of prospective tenants vying and bidding for the few homes available had not abated.

He encouraged people to ensure they had their paperwork and references in order before lodging applications and pitching for homes.