RENTS RISING: Central Queenslanders are being forced to pay more rent as rental property vacancies tighten to the lowest in 10 years.
RENTS RISING: Central Queenslanders are being forced to pay more rent as rental property vacancies tighten to the lowest in 10 years.

Rents on rise as vacancies tighten around Central Queensland

RENTERS around Central Queensland are having to dig deeper to cover their increasing rents as rental property vacancy rates tighten to be the lowest in a decade in some areas.

Rockhampton’s vacancy rate plunged from 1.3 per cent in the March quarter to 0.7 per cent in the June quarter – and the lowest quarterly vacancy rate for more than a decade.

Livingstones’s figures are also impressive with the 1.6 per cent vacancy rate in March dropping to 0.9 per cent in June.

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s Market Monitor Report for the June Quarter showed regional centres were performing strongly.

About 70 per cent of the state’s rental market is facing extremely tight conditions with 18 per cent of Queensland regions experiencing less than 1 per cent vacancies.

Out west, the tightening was even more pronounced with the Central Highlands recording a staggering 5.4 per cent drop in rental vacancies to 0.8 per cent.

Banana Shire’s vacancy rate dropped 3.4 per cent and Isaac Shire’s rate dropped 2.5 per cent.

In the Rockhampton region, the median rent for a three-bedroom house in the year to June 2020 was $300 per week – up $10 on the previous year.

For two-bedroom units, the annual median was $230 per week which was a rise of $10

per week based on the previous year’s result.

The median gross rental yield for Rockhampton investment houses softened coming in

at 5.7 per cent in the June 2020 quarter – a fall from the 6.1 per cent outcome for March

quarter 2020.

Rental market comparison for three bedroom houses in the Rockhampton region.
Rental market comparison for three bedroom houses in the Rockhampton region.

In Livingstone, the average rent for three bedroom houses has risen $30 per week since last year - higher than the average $10 increase in the Rockhampton and Central Highlands regions.

Notably, Emerald has had a surge of $55 in the cost of rent for three bedroom houses over the past year.

The combination of rising rents, coinciding with the employment hardship created by the coronavirus and Wednesday’s ending of a moratorium on rental evictions, could spell trouble for CQ’s renters.

Comparison of Queensland's quarterly rental statistics.
Comparison of Queensland's quarterly rental statistics.

REIQ Rockhampton Zone chair Noel Livingston said the region had been the picture of

resilience during recent months, with a diverse economic base being part of the solution.

“It’s just powering on – it’s been rock solid. We’ve had no real COVID impact on our

market,” he said.

“We’re not tourist based at all, mining is very strong, and the rural economy is

extremely strong. Cattle prices are through the roof so we’re getting investment from

the bush as well.”

REIQ Rockhampton Zone Chair Noel Livingston
REIQ Rockhampton Zone Chair Noel Livingston

In fact, the property sector’s immunity from the pandemic’s economic fallout is showing

no signs of weakening anytime soon, according to Mr Livingston.

“It’s all looking good for the next year or two here in Rocky.”

For investors, the news remained good in Rockhampton as well, Mr Livingston said.

“Our vacancy rate is so low. I’ve got nothing available for rent in my office at present out

of 300 rentals on the books.”

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said it was no surprise there’d been a shift in the state’s rental composition to more affordable rental supplies in outer urban and

regional areas during COVID-19.

“On the plus side it helps break up their mono-tenure and supports more local economies to withstand the pressures of the pandemic we’re witnessing in our larger cities,” Ms Mercorella said.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.

“However, such limited rental supplies have the potential to result in poorly matched housing preferences and impact the urban spatial structure and functioning of these same regions – such as transport costs, labour markets and access to services and amenities.

“It also shows that there’s a decline in government investment in social housing with more low-income renters in the market.”

There was evidence of longer term renting of 10 or more years with some households facing the prospect of a lifelong tenure in this sector.

“What this suggests is that our rental market has changed from its historical role as a transitional housing sector for people moving into home ownership or social housing to a

long-term housing sector for a significant number of Queensland households.

“It’s for these reasons rental vacancies can actually act as a barometer that measures the health of our property market.”


CQ to face economic impact of COVID-19 for ‘quite some time’

Premium Content CQ to face economic impact of COVID-19 for ‘quite some time’

While Central Highlands businesses adjust to the new ‘normal’, research revealed...

Swimmers keen to cash in at Beef City meet

Premium Content Swimmers keen to cash in at Beef City meet

Hundreds to hit the water at 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre.

Premier announces NSW-QLD border decision

Premium Content Premier announces NSW-QLD border decision

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces border decision