A vacant rental house in Cheapside St, Maryborough, is one of many available in the city.
A vacant rental house in Cheapside St, Maryborough, is one of many available in the city. Nat Bromhead

Maryborough a real renter's market

LOOKING for a place to rent? Try Maryborough.

The heritage city has one of the highest rates of vacant rentals in Queensland, with 6.3% of investment properties awaiting new tenants.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute Queensland (REIQ) show the number of rental houses and units sitting empty in Maryborough has risen more than a full percentage point from 5.2% in September last year.

Alice Street Real Estate property compliance manager Vanessa Sobczak said the number of properties available to let had increased, as owners who could not sell their properties chose to turn them into permanent rentals.

"In my experience, it seems more people have had to leave the area for work purposes and they've tried putting their home on the market but it's not selling," Mrs Sobczak said.

"Obviously they can't leave their houses empty, so they put them on as rentals."

She said higher-quality properties were still quick to move, with tenants snapping up high-end rentals while less-desirable properties may take longer to let.

"This time of year the number of people looking for rentals does drop off a little anyway because people don't want to move over Christmas, and it increases again in the new year," Mrs Sobczak said.

While figures in Maryborough appear to have jumped, it is a different story in Hervey Bay, where the number of vacant rentals has dropped from 5.5% to 3.6% in the past year.

But both cities are lagging behind major centres like Brisbane and Logan, with about 2% vacancies, and mining towns like Gladstone, where renters struggle to get a foot in the door with just 0.7% of rental homes available.

REIQ managing director Dan Molloy said tourism-driven areas like the Fraser Coast and the Sunshine Coast were struggling with an oversupply of properties.

"Like the state's other tourism centres, a lack of employment opportunities is seeing some residents leaving the region," Mr Molloy said.

"Agents report lower tenant inquiries, with less than two applicants per rental listing, while investors are yet to re-emerge."

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