Queensland’s rental market improved over the December quarter with many markets behaving as forecast, returning to more traditional vacancy rates after an unusual September quarter result.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s CEO Antonia Mercorella said, generally speaking, the year ended on a steady note.
“The data has shown that supply and demand in the rental market is fairly evenly matched in the southeast corner.”
“The vacancy rate in inner Brisbane has fallen to 3.6%, which is very close to the healthy range and this is good news for both landlords and tenants.”
“When vacancy rates are within the healthy range it means landlords can secure tenants comfortably and it also means tenants have the opportunity to secure appropriate and suitable rental accommodation,” she said.
With the exception of the September 2016 quarter, Brisbane City has remained within the healthy range (2.5% – 3.5%) since December 2013, indicating the rental market is steady and well-balanced between supply and demand.
Greater Brisbane’s vacancy rates have held steady in the healthy range for five quarters, falling to 3% this quarter.
The Logan rental market weakened over the December quarter, reaching a vacancy rate of 3.3%, which is still within the healthy range.
- After 13 quarters operating in the tight range, the Gold Coast rental market operated within the healthy range for the December quarter, reaching a vacancy rate of 2.5%.
- Maroochy Coast was the tightest rental market in Queensland with a vacancy rate of 1.1% for December.
- Noosa vacancy rates remained relatively steady with vacancy rates of 1.4%. This market has operated in the tight range for the past four years (since September 2012).
- Rentals of medium to high density living in Noosa follow a cyclical performance with a market peak during the summer and holidays period. Vacancy rates of units in Noosa reduced from 3.2% in June to 1.4% in December.
- The Cairns rental market remains generally healthy with vacancy rates at 2.4% for December.
- Fraser Coast has experienced some volatility over the past eight years, however, it continues to operate in the healthy range, rising to 3.3% in the December quarter.
- Maryborough rental market recorded the largest increase in vacancy rates over the quarter of 3.2%, reaching vacancy rates of 5.6%, primarily due to new housing construction in the region.
- Toowoomba vacancy rate increased from 2.3% for September to 2.8% for December. This market has operated within the tight and healthy range since the REIQ began reporting vacancy rates in 2008.
- With the exception of Toowoomba, Gympie, Scenic Rim, Southern Downs and Tablelands, the rental markets in regional centres are weak with consistent low demand.
- Southern Downs recorded the largest vacancy rate fall, dropping 2.2%, from 5.3% in September to 3.1% in December.
- Vacancy rates in Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Townsville improved between 0.3% and 0.7%, but these markets are still weak.
- Banana recorded the highest vacancy rate in the State of 15.2% in the December quarter.
Ms Mercorella said signs were good that 2017 would bring improving conditions to regional Queensland.
“The State Government is focusing its jobs-creation programs on centres such as Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville.
“Also, it is well-known that jobs and rental markets go hand-in-hand. When workers are made redundant they are often forced to leave town to search for work elsewhere and we are seeing many move to southeast Queensland.
“But the low Australian dollar will bring visitors to our tourism centres such as Cairns and Mackay and hopefully the rising coking coal price will benefit the mining centres such as Gladstone, Rockhampton, and Townsville, as well as western Queensland mining towns,” she said.
“A boost to employment figures will benefit the state’s housing market enormously. We have seen this at the Sunshine Coast, where the unemployment rate of 4.7% (for September) sits well below state and national levels and it’s no coincidence that the vacancy rates on the Sunshine Coast are the lowest in Queensland,” she said.