Vacancy squeeze pushes rents up across region
COMPETITION is fierce for rental properties in Cairns, and tenants are only going to pay more until at least 2014 as supply struggles to keep up with demand.
Houses for rent are almost non-existent in Cairns and units are also in short supply, according to the latest Cairns Watch report by independent property advice firm Herron Todd White.
Real estate agents report scarce supplies of rental properties that a tenant could move into immediately, and the slim pickings are becoming a source of angst for renters.
“It’s very competitive and there’s quite a bit of angst because people are missing out,” Real Estate Institute Queensland zone chairman Greg Clyde Smith said.
“They’re going along to inspections but then there’s a number of applications on each property and it’s basically up to the landlord to decide, so it can be quite frustrating.”
It’s harder to find a house to rent in Cairns than in Brisbane, and Far Northern vacancy rates are well below the state average.
Mr Clyde Smith said the days of prospective tenants being able to haggle with agents over rent prices were over.
Author of the Cairns Watch Report, Rick Carr, said rental prices were not likely to subside soon, especially in the tight market for houses.
It has been almost two years since the vacancy rate for rental houses in Cairns was within the range considered balanced.
“We still expect rental housing to remain in short supply and there to be upward pressure on rents over the coming 12 to 18 months,” he said in the Cairns Watch report.
The vacancy rate for houses has fallen below 2 per cent for the first time since 2006. And the overall market for rental properties – houses and units – is also outside the balanced market range at 2.6 per cent.
Mr Carr said other data in the August Cairns Watch report were pointing to gradual improvements in the local economy.
The trend employment total for the Far North stood at 134,500 in August 2012, a rise of 3.1 per cent since April 2012.
The region’s published unemployment rate rose to 10.4 per cent in August 2012.
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