Rents set to rise as properties available for rent tighten

Just as rental listings have shrunk, new listings have surged. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt.

New data shows Brisbane renters are set to face a major squeeze – with rents to rise after a dramatic halving in the number of properties listed for rent – and QLD regions won’t be spared.

Figures released by SQM Research Tuesday revealed Brisbane’s vacancy rate hit 1.3 per cent in May (down from 1.4 per cent in April), a result which was tighter than the national residential rental vacancy rate – which shrank to 1.8 per cent (from 1.9 per cent).

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SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said falling vacancy rates – which were happening Australia-wide – would see landlords “forcing up in rents”. And, he warned, regional locations would be particularly hard hit.

Only 4,435 residential vacancies were listed in Brisbane in May, just about half of the 8780 available it was the year before in May 2020 (with the May 2020 vacancy rate an easier 2.5 per cent).

The tightening rental vacancy rate is expected to put greater pressure on tenants.

This as latest CoreLogic figures showed that 4,324 properties were newly listed for sale in Brisbane in the 28 days to June 13, a 35.1 per cent jump on the same time last year – though the 12 month change was impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions imposed last year.

The rental market was not expected to ease up any time soon for renters, according to Mr Christopher.

“Rental vacancy rates have fallen across the board in May, driving rents higher, especially in regional locations,” he said. “This trend is likely to remain through the second half of the year, given the fierce competition for rental accommodation in many areas.”

“We are still seeing falling vacancies everywhere from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the Gold Coast, right through to inland areas like the Murray Regions of NSW and South Australia to outback Northern Territory, along with Darwin, which is having the effect of boosting rents as tenants compete for rental homes.”

CBD zones were expected to see vacancy rates remain “relatively high”. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt.

There was still one safe haven for renters on the hunt though, with Mr Christopher not expecting CBD zones to tighten too dramatically “as life resumes relative normality” – given the huge loss of international students post Covid-19.

“Those vacancy rates could begin a downward trend over the second half of 2021,” Mr Christopher said.

“However, the loss of international student tenants, along with unit oversupply, will keep vacancy rates relatively high as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”

Australia-wide there are 62,144 residential rental properties vacant, down from 66,411 in April, and much less than the 86,398 available in May 2020.

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