Rental vacancy rates have dropped below one per cent, setting a new level not seen for many years.
Head of Property Management at Ballarat Hocking Stuart, Lachlain Ramsay agreed rental vacancy rates in Ballarat had reached their lowest ebb, certainly in his agency’s experience.
“In May 2017 it was 2.2%, then 1.3% in May 2018 (REIV figures) and based on our records and monthly figures, current rental vacancy rates are 0.7%,” Mr Ramsay said.
According to Hocking Stuart data, May recorded extremely low vacancy levels, with the average monthly rate dropping to 0.46 per cent.
Mr Ramsay said the scarcity was due to a number of factors, including out-of-area investors buying up a lot of property and the trend towards long-term rental.
“People don’t tend to move a lot in this area,” he said, “so they may rent for a long time, therefore the properties don’t become available.”
He said the traditional rental property supply was not generating as much supply because most investors were out-of-area and many buyers from Melbourne were purchasing to live in.
People don’t tend to move a lot, therefore the (rental) properties don’t often become available.Lachlain Ramsay
Mr Ramsay said supply was not keeping up with demand and rental prices were increasing accordingly. The average REIV rental price of $300 a week for a house in 2017 increased to $320/week in 2018.
Mr Ramsay said while 27 days was the average ‘days on market’, tenant quality was important. “We’d rather wait for the right person.”
Buxton Real Estate directors, Peter Burley and Ben Halsall agreed rental vacancy rates were currently extremely low.
“A lot of Melbourne buyers are looking to buy and move in to and then commute, because our rental vacancy rates are really, really low,” Mr Burley said.
“Currently, the vacancy rate for Buxton in Ballarat is under one per cent, which means out of every 100 homes there’s less than one available to lease,” he said.
“For every available property we get multiple applications, which is great for the landlord because they can choose the best tenant, but difficult if you are looking to rent.”
Mr Halsall said while it was “definitely very competitive”, and that made it difficult for people “wanting to rent and get to know the area before they buy” they would do their best to help people find suitable properties.