RENTAL vacancy rates in Gympie have plunged from almost 6 per cent in June 2011, to 0.5 per cent, making it most likely the toughest rental market in Queensland.
What this means is that finding a place to rent in Gympie is hard, and rents are going up because of the high demand for what is available.
The March quarter vacancy rate data reveals generally improving rental markets across Queensland, according to REIQ’s Q1 2018 Vacancy Rate report, released yesterday.
According to the data, the only place in Queensland as tight as Gympie when it comes to finding a place to rent is Caloundra Coast. Even Noosa is easier to find a place to rent than Gympie.
Regional Queensland, in particular, has delivered good results in the wake of a two or three bleak years, the REIQ says.
CEO Antonia Mercorella said the regional vacancies improvements this quarter followed similar small improvements in 2017 Q4, and these small but steady improvements were the hallmarks of Queensland real estate.
In the Gympie region, residential vacancy rates have had a stead slide from 3.7 per cent in September 2016, to 2.1 per cent in December 2016, 2.2 per cent in March 2017, 1 per cent last December and 0.5 per cent in March 2018.
“Some of our markets, such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts, remain uncomfortably tight and we would like to see more investors enter those markets, however APRA’s tightened lending criteria is not encouraging investors to consider property. The result is tight markets remain tight, despite good opportunities for landlords in those markets,” she said.
Greater Brisbane’s vacancy rates eased by 0.1 per cent to 2.7 per cent, which remains a healthy market.
Brisbane LGA also eased 0.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent, which indicates a healthy market for a second consecutive quarter.
Ipswich tightened marginally, moving from 3.1 to 3.0 per cent, but has maintained its position as a healthy rental market.
“This area is really a growth corridor for Queensland and we’re seeing buyers and renters flocking to this part of the southeast corner. It’s great news that the rental market is maintaining its stability and healthy status,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Sunshine Coast, overall, has a vacancy rate of 1 per cent. Caloundra, along with Gympie, has the tightest vacancy rate in Queensland, with just 0.5 per cent of properties vacant.
“The Sunshine Coast is very challenging for renters who are looking for accommodation and we have said consistently for quite some time that this market would benefit from additional investor activity. The upward pressure on rents, as a result of this tight vacancy rate, will serve to push this market towards unaffordable,” Ms Mercorella said.
Noosa is also very tight, at just 0.8 per cent.
“It’s no surprise that renters are flocking to this market – it’s such a stunning part of the world with employment opportunities – but additional supply into this market would be very beneficial,” Ms Mercorella said.
Fraser Coast, which is made up of Hervey Bay and Maryborough, is a tight market, although it has eased somewhat. Fraser Coast has moved from 1.6 per cent in December to 1.9 per cent in March. Hervey Bay is now 1.8 per cent – a tight market – and Maryborough is now 2.5 per cent, which is a healthy market.
Cairns has also eased from 1.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent, moving this popular destination closer to a healthy rental market.
Bundaberg has moved from 1.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent. This is quite a jump, but there’s likely to be a seasonal factor at work here with the transfer season impacting vacancies as people move in and leave for employment factors. Bundaberg remains a healthy rental market.
In continued good news for Gladstone, this market has fallen for a third consecutive quarter. Essentially this market has improved significantly since March 2016 when the vacancy rate was 11.3 per cent.
“We are seeing some stabilisation of the market in this area, with the rental market delivering some cautiously improving. It’s been a long time coming and we’ll continue to wait and see with this region,” Ms Mercorella said.
Mackay is another good news story, with significant improvements from December 2016, when vacancies were 7.9 per cent.
“To see this market at 3.6 per cent, which although it is technically just outside the healthy range, it is still in reasonably good shape and this is very encouraging. It has been consistently improving over the past couple of years and we have much to be optimistic about,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Rockhampton vacancy rate has been somewhat volatile in the recent years, however, we are starting to see some consistent downward trends emerge. The fourth consecutive quarterly fall has resulted in the lowest vacancy rate since September 2014, of 4.1 per cent.
Toowoomba has tightened to its lowest vacancy rate since September 2016. With just 2.3 per cent vacancies, this market is in the tight range.
Townsville has tightened again and this is now the lowest rate it’s been since 2013. This is a continued good news story for this market which represents some of the best buying opportunities in Queensland at the moment. The vacancy rate is 3.8 per cent and while that is just outside the healthy range (healthy is 2.5 – 3.5 per cent) it is a vast improvement on the highest rate of 7.1 per cent in September 2016.
Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million
Queensland’s population hits 5 million people today
Queensland’s population has tipped the 5 million mark today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told State Parliament.
Ms Palaszczuk said several expectant families were on standby to welcome the state’s five-millionth resident.
“Somewhere today a brand new mum and dad will be eager to meet their new arrival,” she told the house.
“The whole family will want to know: is it a boy or is it a girl? And the doctor will say, ‘congratulations, it’s a Queenslander’.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the two main drivers of the increase were migration growth, particularly from New South Wales, and from 60,000 babies being born in the past year.
PHOTO: The state’s five-millionth resident was born today.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)
“Overseas and interstate migration is up by 50,000 people in the past year, 19,000 came from interstate … more than 12,000, or 230 a week, move from New South Wales to Queensland,” she said.
ABS data also revealed the fastest and largest-growing area in Queensland in 2016-17 was Pimpama on the Gold Coast, which grew by 3,000 people.
Large growth also occurred in Jimboomba on Brisbane’s south side and in North Lakes — a suburb north of the city — which both increased by 2,100 people.
Coomera on the Gold Coast and Springfield Lakes in Ipswich also experienced large growth up 1,400 people.
The State Government’s population counter gives a “synthetic estimate” of the number of current Queenslanders, assuming a total population increase of one person every 6 minutes and 22 seconds.
Earlier this year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Queensland’s population was growing at 1.7 per cent and was projected to tick over to 5 million in May.
ABS data released in March also revealed Brisbane was one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and had increased by 48,000 in 2017, hitting 2.4 million people.
ABS demography director Anthony Grubb said the state’s population had “come a long way” in the last century.
“In 1901 the population was half a million; a tenth of what it is today… it took 37 years to hit the 1 million milestone in 1938 and another 36 years to reach 2 million in 1974,” he said.
But Mr Grubb said population growth “picked up the pace” after that, taking just 18 years to reach 3 million then only another 14 years to hit 4 million in 2006.
Queensland could be leading growth state in future
Population demographer Dr Elin Charles-Edwards said although Queensland is not currently the fastest growing state, it is possible it could top the leader board later down the track.
‘Not in the short-term, but Queensland is coming up off a relatively subdued growth so perhaps we might be entering an era of more rapid growth,” she said.
Dr Charles-Edwards said the challenges that generally come with increased population could be managed in Queensland.
“As long as we keep up and don’t take our eye off the ball we can continue to absorb quite high levels of growth… but really it’s keeping up with the infrastructure that’s the key challenge,” she said.
Dr Charles-Edwards said it was important to note some parts of the state, particularly in western Queensland, were experiencing population decline.
“While the south-east corner is growing and also many Indigenous communities are growing, other parts of the state are shrinking,” she said.
“Perhaps we could do more to encourage people to move outside the south-east corner.
“If we were able to work out some way to decentralise our population, growth a little bit further up into the northern regional centres, I think that would benefit the growth of south-east Queensland.”
APRA to end cap on property investor loan growth
APRA is removing the 10 per cent ‘speed limit’ on investor loan growth.
Photo: Louise Kennerley
The banking regulator is axing a 10 per cent speed limit on bank lending to property investors, saying the cap has served its purpose and improved credit standards.
With Sydney house prices falling and credit growth slowing, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Thursday said it would remove the cap for bank boards that could prove they had been following its guidelines on prudent lending.
In late 2014, amid a surge in borrowing by property investors and rapid house price growth, APRA took the rare step of setting a 10 per cent limit on the annual growth in banks’ housing investor loan portfolios.
The measure has rocked the mortgage market in recent years, prompting banks to jack up interest rates for housing investors, and demand borrowers stump up bigger deposits.
But on Thursday, APRA chairman Wayne Byres said it was prepared to remove the measure because there had been an improvement in lending standards and a slowdown in credit growth.
“The temporary benchmark on investor loan growth has served its purpose. Lending growth has moderated, standards have been lifted and oversight has improved,” Mr Byres
Even so, the regulator will retain a separate 2017 policy that requires banks to limit their new interest-only lending to less than 30 per cent of all new home loan approvals.
APRA also said there was “more to do” in improving other aspects of banks’ lending, including how they assessed borrowers’ expenses, their existing debts, and the approval of loans that fell outside of banks’ formal lending policies.
APRA said it expected banks to introduce limits on the proportion of new lending that could be done at “very high” debt-to-income levels.
“In the current environment, APRA supervisors will continue to closely monitor any changes in lending standards,” Mr Byres said.
“The benchmark on interest-only lending will also continue to apply. APRA will consider the need for further changes to its approach as conditions evolve, in consultation with the other members of the Council of Financial Regulators.”
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