Market hit hard after rental sell-off
By Trish Bowman
With the rental market still sitting at under 1 per cent vacancy, renters are leading the charge in a battle to find accommodation.
Seachange Realty Emu Park Damian Thwaite said the reality is many agents across the Capricorn Coast have sold off a large percentage (around 42 per cent) of their investment properties leaving less rentals available across the Coast.
“Where this alarming statistic is of most concern is that few new investment properties are being built due to the cost of construction,” Mr Thwaite said.
“We do our best to rehouse our tenants when their rental property is sold even ringing other agents to see if they can do anything.
“Unfortunately, it is not just rentals where people are struggling.
“We recently had a week where we had six ladies over the age of 60 wanting to downsize their homes.
“The difficulty lies in not having anything available for them to buy.
“In terms of rentals, it has become a bit like Russian roulette with tenants on edge worrying about when their landlord may decide to sell.
“Tenants need to look after their rental properties better than they ever have to remain where they are because the market is so competitive.
“Rental properties are still coming becoming available at a steady rate, but we are seeing many people applying for them.
“We are coming in to a few months where people traditionally move around so it will be interesting to see how that affects our rental market moving forward.”
Livingstone Mayor Andy Ireland said Council are doing what they can to encourage more investors and developers to assist.
“We are encouraging people with holiday homes to consider renting them out during this difficult time,” Cr Ireland said.
“Every developer who contacts Council is allocated their own case manager to streamline their business with us where they need to deal with only one person rather than a range of departments.
“We are also the principal contributor to Capricorn Enterprise who promote the region to visitors and investors.
“Council have made more land available for development and encourage investors to consider affordable housing options.
“We have also offered deferral of charges so developers can sell of the plan and remain financial.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy said the Queensland Government is investing $3.9 billion in social and affordable housing which marks the largest concentrated investment in Queensland’s history.
“This investment means we are housing more vulnerable Queenslanders sooner. In fact, we will have commenced 13,000 new social and affordable homes by 2027,” the spokesperson said.
“This investment includes commencing 2,765 social homes under our QuickStarts Qld program, of which 121 new homes will be commenced in the Central Queensland region, with a planned investment of $46.4 million over four years, supporting more than 146 full-time equivalent jobs.
“As of February 2023, 3,951 social homes are located in the Central Queensland region.
“This includes 83 new social homes delivered under the Queensland Housing Strategy since 2017.
“A further 37 Quickstarts contracts have already been awarded and will commence shortly.
“As with elsewhere in the State, we are experiencing strong demand for social housing in Central Queensland, with around 1,290 applications on the Housing Register as of 30 June 2022.”
The spokesperson said social housing is not the only type of housing that can resolve people’s housing needs.
“The department continues to help Queenslanders with many other forms of housing assistance, including products and services to access the private rental market, including RentConnect, Bond Loans and Rental Grants,” they said.
“Almost 200,000 forms of housing assistance were provided to Queensland households or individuals, including emergency housing, social housing, private market assistance and homelessness services during 2021–2022.
“Between 1 July 2022 and 31 December 2022, the Gladstone Housing Service Centre provided 132 bond loans, 44 bond loan plus packages and 69 rental grants to help people secure a rental home in the private rental market.
“Over the same timeframe, the Rockhampton Housing Service Centre provided 237 bond loans, 58 bond loan plus packages and 84 rental grants to help people secure a rental home in the private rental market.
“The Queensland Government is investing a total of $26 million for the Immediate Housing Response for Families (IHRF) package to boost support critical services such as temporary emergency accommodation and homelessness support workers for Queenslanders living in insecure and unsafe situations.
“This is in addition to a variety of housing and support activities for older women including Better Together Housing which assists older women to establish co-tenancies to share the cost of living and decrease social isolation.”
Anyone who needs housing assistance can contact their local Housing Service Centre during business hours or call the 24/7 Homeless Hotline on 1800 474 753.