General News

28 February, 2023

Rental relief on the horizon

RENTAL homes are still a rare commodity across the Tablelands region, with more people than ever seeking to find somewhere to live, but there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, industry sources say.

By Rhys Thomas

Rental relief on the horizon - feature photo

As with many regions across Australia, the rental market around Mareeba and the southern Tablelands has been tight for nearly two years now – mainly attributable to people coming into the region during Covid seeking a change of life and pushing up sale prices.

This prompted many landlords to leave the rental market and sell their properties, causing those tenants to be displaced and seek a new rental.

According to Ray White Mareeba director Norma Maloney, there are significantly more people around looking for properties than last year.

“The rental market has not improved since a year ago and there are far more people looking for a rental property than available rental properties,” she said.

On the other side of the coin, property prices in the sales market had stayed relatively the same but she predicted this would eventually change and free up more rental properties.

She said that due to the interest rate and cost of living rise, people were more hesitant to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new home or investment property.

“Even though the heat is starting to come out of the sales market, property prices have pretty much remained the same,” Ms Moloney said.

“This will eventually change and with interest rate rises and the cost of living going up, we will start to see a drop in prices.

“This will, in turn, result in more people putting their property up for rent, increasing the number of rental homes available, resulting in rental prices decreasing.”

Locals looking to break away from the renting cycle and instead buy their own home are running into a similar supply issue which has eased compared to last year but is still making it difficult to purchase a home.

Last year, when a property was listed there would typically be 10 enquiries immediately but that number has now halved.

Ray White Rural Atherton principal licensee Margaret Black said many landlords who had also felt the increase in cost of living had chose to increase their rent or straight up sell their properties.

“Investors are too feeling the cost-of-living expenses like mortgages, insurances, rates, repairs which leaves them two choices, increase the rent or sell,” she said.

“Therefore, we have sold a number of our rental properties which, in turn, adds to the critical shortage.”

Ms Black said while interest rates had not caused as much as a stir on the Tablelands as in other urban areas, buyers had seen their borrowing capacity reduced.

“The interest rises have not really been too much of an issue on the Tablelands – it is not affected like the city as their prices are extreme however if it reaches the point where homeowners can’t meet their mortgage and are forced to sell, that would put further pressure on the rental pool,” she said.

“One shift we are seeing with the interest rates is that buyers who have previously received pre-approval for finance, now have to shift their budg-et as their borrowing capacity is reduced.”


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