The Airlie Beach and Cannonvale rental market is in a state of crisis, a local real estate agent has said.
Data released last month from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland revealed rental vacancy rates across the Whitsunday region sat at just 2.1 per cent, down from 5.8 per cent in the September quarter last year.
But Ray White Whitsunday principal Mark Beale said the vacancy rates in Airlie Beach and Cannonvale were at less than 0.5 per cent.
“There’s basically nothing available and those vacancy rates reflect days in between tenants,” he said.
“It has turned into a landlord’s market as opposed to a tenant’s market and it has been a tenant’s market for last five years.”
Mr Beale said rents were soaring from about $350 a week towards previous highs of $550-$600 a week.
“There’s people living with family and friends, on lounges, renting anything they can just to have a roof over their heads,” he said.
“We really need more accommodation around.
“It would be very difficult to be a tenant at the moment.”
Population growth combined with homes and units damaged by the cyclone have led to the rental crisis, Mr Beale said, with growth in the trades and tourism industries attracting more families to the area.
While more repairs were expected to be completed in March-April next year, retuning 80-100 homes to the rental pool, the housing problem would remain.
Mr Beale predicted the market would remain tight for the next two years at least.
“I don’t think there’s any silver bullet that’s going to fix the problem,” he said.
“One possible solution is we need more development.
“We need somebody to come along and build 16 units and six units for people to live in. But that doesn’t happen overnight.
“We need council to give developer incentives for people to build this product and ease the burden on the rental market.”
As for tenants, Mr Beale said now was the time to get out of the rental game and find a way to buy a home.
“Getting out of rental into the property market – there has never been a better time,” he said.
Regional centres have experienced a tightening of the rental market, statistics from REIQ revealed, as employment opportunities attracted workers away from Brisbane.
REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said there were only six weak regional markets, down from 10 in the previous quarter.
“For so long many rental markets in regional Queensland have been weak,” she said.
“Now we have just six weak regional markets and those weak markets have shown real improvements.
“These markets are showing the green shoots of recovery and there is reason to be optimistic about the future of the property market in regional Queensland.”
Source: Whitsunday Times.