Demand for Sunshine Coast property continues to exceed supply when it comes to those looking to secure their own piece of paradise and it appears that demand is also flowing into the rental market, with the REIQ’s December quarter vacancy rate report showing a further tightening of properties available to rent.
The report shows the Sunshine Coast SD (Sunshine Coast local government area and Noosa Shire combined) is now firmly classified a tight rental market, with the vacancy rate dropping from 2.4 per cent to 1.8 per cent.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says these tightened conditions will “continue to exert upward pressure on prices and it is likely we will see some movement in rents if these conditions continue”.
Ms Mercorella says the cyclic slow-down of investor activity has arrived with the looming federal election and uncertainty around potential negative gearing adjustments and capital gains tax changes.
“The REIQ is hearing from agents that financing is causing contracts to fall over. We’re seeing tightened lending restrictions slowing both investors and first-homebuyers from getting into the market,” she says.
With fewer investors buying on the Coast, there are fewer properties available for those who continue to move to the area for the idyllic lifestyle and increasing number of employment opportunities.
First National Mooloolaba principal Paul Angell says the pressure on vacancy rates has been building for some time.
“Our agency has zero vacant properties, but this is fairly typical, and in the last 30 days, we have had 112 tenancy enquiries,” he says.
“Houses under $500 a week are our most requested dwelling type and we are seeing mostly singles, who are often sharing, in the 20 to 40 age group.
“While there is a growing trend to invest in shares or property and to remain a tenant themselves, more often it is just a case of tenants not having enough deposit to make the initial purchase to have their own home.”
Mr Angell says those searching for a rental in the high-demand category could spend a month or more to find something suitable.
“While having a pet is a wonderful thing, it will reduce your options when looking for your next rental. Having a strong reference from your current landlord or agent is important and when applying, you should have all of your documents ready to go so that you can lodge a complete application,” he suggests.
Century 21 Grant Smith Property’s property manager Debbie O’Connor says their office is seeing a similar reflection of vacancy, and at times even a zero per cent vacancy rate.
“With strong regional growth and demand for housing on the Sunshine Coast there are more people moving into the region. This is often from new residents to the area choosing to rent for a period to familiarise themselves with the area prior to committing to a purchase,” she says.
“The [level of] enquiry varies on each individual property. We find the lower weekly price point can attract even hundreds of enquiries, showing there is such a strong demand for affordable housing in the area.
“Over the past quarter we have seen that properties with pools, in particular family homes and the median rental priced properties around $450 per week, are attracting the most interest.”
For those considering investing, to maximise opportunity to have the dwelling tenanted, Ms O’Connor offers this advice: “Ensure you leave yourself with enough budget for maintenance on your investment and any additional outgoings that can be occurred, most importantly don’t step out of your comfort zone,” she says.
Platinum Properties director Cherie Hopkins says newly-signed properties are usually the only ones they have vacant because as soon as tenants indicate they are ready to move out, they have no trouble filling them with new ones.
“The Coast has always attracted Brisbane commuters and more recently the FIFOs are putting their families in homes here so they can come home on their days off and relax,” she says.
“We would easily field enquiries from 200 people looking for various types of properties each month. The most in demand is four-bedroom, two-bathroom, double garage, room for a trampoline and a dog in the $400 to $500 per week range and they must be close to schools. Our biggest demographic are families with children.”
Ms Hopkins says changes are making it harder for families to borrow sufficient money to buy a home and they are therefore in the rental pool. So now is the time to invest in property.
For those looking to secure a rental home, Ms Hopkins says while documentation is important, your attitude is often undervalued.
“From the inspection, we are looking for people who are respectful in the home they are looking through and have their children with them, not jumping on beds,” she says.
“People who have their application organised will always get their forms completed first, so it gets to the owner first. This could mean the difference between getting [the property] and not getting approved.”