Vacancy rates put squeeze on tenants

Published 6:00am 23 January 2024

Vacancy rates put squeeze on tenants
Words by Jodie Powell

Redcliffe had the lowest residential vacancy rate in the Greater Brisbane area during the December 2023 quarter, according to figures released by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.

REIQ’s latest Residential Vacancy Rate Report shows incredibly tight conditions continued in Queensland over the quarter.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says with the statewide vacancy rate sitting at 0.9 percent, rental properties are still too thin on the ground to provide comfortable choice for Queensland’s sizeable rental population.

“What we’ve seen over the course of the year, is a rental property pool that’s insufficient and under incredible strain,” Antonia says.

“It’s not necessarily that rentals are impossible to find everywhere in our state, it’s the imbalance between the sheer demand and shortage of supply of rentals at certain price points and locations that’s out of kilter.

“Many are finding it’s a lot less hassle to renew their existing lease than to risk re-entering the fast-moving market, especially if they are attached to their area.”

Sustained demand

Vacancies hovered around one percent across Greater Brisbane, with Moreton Bay slightly lower at 0.8 percent, Caboolture at 1.1 percent, Pine Rivers one percent and Redcliffe with the lowest rate in the region at 0.5 percent.

Of the 50 local government areas (LGAs) and sub regions covered in the report, 22 tightened, 13 remained unchanged, and 15 relaxed.

The majority of markets remained well within what the REIQ classifies as “tight” - vacancy rates up to 2.5 percent - and well over half were as low as one percent or below.

Antonia says property managers witnessed sustained demand for private rentals, and the social housing waitlist climbed to 43,000 Queenslanders in the September 2023 quarter.

She says REIQ recognises these are particularly tough conditions for the most vulnerable in the community.

“It’s very concerning that families in need are being forced to join the queues in the private rental market because there’s no social housing available to them and no hope on the near horizon of getting to the top of the waitlist,” she says.

“A fair proportion of the distress we are seeing can be attributed to inadequate social housing stock.

“In the year to September 2023, only 269 social houses were completed in Queensland, and we know the social housing waitlist continues to grow.

“While we welcome initiatives such as the purchase of a hotel in South Brisbane to provide housing to those in need, the built-up demand is clearly far greater than the rate of social housing delivery.”

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