Obscenely tight rental conditions continue in the Sunshine State according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
Its latest Residential Vacancy Rate Report shows the state-wide vacancy rate rose marginally from 0.8 per cent in the December 2022 quarter, to 0.9 per cent in the March 2023 quarter, still well short of the ideal 2.6 – 3.5% healthy rate.
Livingstone has recorded the region’s largest improvement up from 0.7 per cent to 1.1.
Gladstone and Rockhampton have both increased 0.2 per cent, now sitting at 1.8 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says while the March quarter results offer some rental market relief, most of the state is a long way off from being out of the woods.
“Queensland is still worlds away from a healthy rental market and a grossly insufficient level of housing supply is squarely to blame,” Ms Mercorella says.
“When we’re witnessing these very tight vacancy rates persisting right across the state, it’s highlighting the importance of ensuring that we keep levels of property investment up so that we can maintain rooves over the heads of our growing population.
“We desperately need more rental properties but investors are not being encouraged to put their savings into property – on the contrary, often they’re being deterred and punished.”
Ms Mercorella says that despite the heavy reliance on private investors in the rental space, dangerous behaviour towards investors is continuing.
“Alarmingly, talk of rent control and imposing greater restrictions on the owners of rental properties is being touted as the solution to the rental crisis,” she says.
“Making investment less appealing and demonising investors is not the right solution. We should be focussed on the underlying cause of the rental crisis and increasing housing supply, including social housing.
“Queensland spends the least per capita on social housing and even with the Housing Investment Fund it will only rise to second last. This under investment reached its nadir from 2015 onwards and has had a direct correlation with the crisis today.
“We’re about to embark on the phase two rental reforms, and just as in phase one, the REIQ will be advocating strongly for fair and balanced residential tenancies legislation in Queensland that support all stakeholders involved in rental relationships,” she says.
“It’s a delicate balancing act making sure that the laws provide adequate protections for tenants and also that they allow a certain amount of flexibility and freedom to property owners to ensure that they are prepared to keep providing their property as a private rental.”