Rent increases have topped almost 20 per cent as vacancy rates plummet to crisis levels

Greater Brisbane’s rental crisis is at record lows as rents soar and there appears no substantial relief in sight. Picture: Supplied

Brisbane’s rental crisis has deepened with the vacancy rate plummeting to just 0.9 per cent and fewer than 500 residences available in the CBD alone and rents soaring with no significant relief in sight.

The latest SQM Research figures reveal Greater Brisbane’s rental availability has dipped from 5310 (1.5 per cent) properties in February 2021 to 3328 last month.

At the same time, the rise in demand against a backdrop of fewer rental properties has resulted in a 19.5 per cent rise in rents for houses and 6.2 per cent for units over the past 12 months.

29/08/2006 SUPPLEMENTS: CAPTION: Property guru Louis Christopher believes the growth in housing needs to be matched by a growth in peoples income, otherwise people will be taking on more and mored debt.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher says there is no substantial relief in sight for rental hunters. Picture: Supplied

In some pockets like the CBD, there are just 465 residences for lease compared with 1588 in June 2020 when the city was in the grip of a pandemic.

But Brisbane is not alone with the national vacancy rate of a mere 1.2 per cent.

It’s the worst sustained rental vacancy rate since SQM Research started publishing data in 2005, said managing director Louis Christopher.

There may be a plateau in figures in April, but it is unlikely to be of any comfort for rental hunters with the crisis expected to last throughout the year, he said.

“It’s the worst we have seen on our numbers and it’s going to be a pretty tight rental market all year,” he said.

“There was one abnormal month in 2006 when the national rate dipped down to 0.8 per cent and then it bounced back to straight away to 1.4.

Rents for houses have soared almost 20 per cent in the past year and more than six per cent for housing across Greater Brisbane, the SQM Research data revealed. Picture: Supplied

“But this is more sustained and there’s no evidence of a major rebound although we may see some very minor relief when we get to April.”

The reopening of international and interstate borders across January and February and also the return of international students and workers compounded the rental shortage, Mr Christopher said.

Preliminary March figures show next to no easing of rental vacancies, possibly until April and that will be minimal and short-lived, he said.

“There may be some type of reprieve when we get to April because seasonally when we get to January, February and March, you tend to get an influx of international students,” Mr Christopher said.

“When you get to April the seasonal demand is over and you generally see a lift in rental vacancies in April, but we are not expecting a major lift, it may be by 0.1 0r 0.2 of a per cent.

“And we are not seeing anything on the horizon that things are going to get better over the medium-term, there is just no evidence of that.”

There are 13,000 fewer rental properties on the market in February 2022 in Queensland compared to mid-2020. Picture: Supplied

Across Queensland, there are 5379 rental properties, more than 13,000 fewer than mid-2020 when the state was in the grip of the pandemic although early suggestion.

The biggest concern is not so much Queensland is in a crisis but the whole nation and that’s despite minimal international migration over the past two years, Mr Christopher said.

“It’s the first time I have seen such a broadbased shortage of rental properties across the country, whether you’re in a capital city or region and I cannot think of anywhere there is a surplus stock for tenants,” he said.

“Brisbane has been the hardest hit, and we saw a 30 per cent increase in rents on the Gold Coast Coast last year.

“This is what can happen when you see such a crunch in available rental properties.”

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Rental data shows a year-on-year 0.6 per cent decline in rental properties across Greater Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Swift

 Vacancy Crisis Data*

Feb 21 / 22 Feb 21 /22 Rent Increases (12m)

Vacancies Vacancy Rate % House / Unit %

Greater Brisbane 5310/3328 1.5 / 0.9 19.5 / 6.2

Region Feb-22 Covid Vacancy Peak (Mar 20-Dec21)

Total Vacancy % Total % Date Changes

Brisbane CBD 465 2.6 1588 9.2 Jun-20 – 6.6 %

East Brisbane 227 1. 1 524 2.5 Apr-20 – 1.4%

Gold Coast / Main 200 0.5 2007 5 May-20 – 4.5%

Gold Coast North 49 0.4 378 3.2 Apr-20 – 2.8%

Ipswich 102 0.7 319 2.2 Apr-20 – 1.5%

Northern Brisbane 626 0.6 1881 1.8 Apr-20 – 1.2 %

South East Brisbane 140 0.6 373 1.7 Apr-20 -1.1 %

Sunshine Coast 349 0.5 1517 2.4 Apr-20 -1.9%

*Data: SQM Research

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