Ballarat's rental vacancy rate has eased from record lows but the squeeze is still on for those looking to rent a home in the city.
Real estate agents say up to 20 or 30 people are looking at most of the few homes available for rent, with some offering to pay rent in excess of what is advertised.
REIV figures show Ballarat's rental vacancy rate for August was 1.6 per cent, slightly higher than the average regional rental vacancy rate across Victoria which was 1.5 per cent.
Ballarat's rate hovered below 1 per cent from September last year to April, reaching a low of 0.7 per cent through November, December and January before gradually increasing through the middle of the year.
"It's extremely tight for those tenants that are applying for a home and we are seeing time and time again where there's up to 20 or 30 people looking through any particular property," said Buxton Real Estate director Peter Burley.
A lot of people are moving here purely for the affordability and commuting to work in MelbournePeter Burley, Buxton Real Estate
"Even though we may have seen a slight increase in vacancies there's still very little supply for the consumer to choose from. Out of every 100 homes available for rent less than two are sitting vacant."
Mr Burley said the slight increase was likely the result of newly built homes coming on to the rental market in the western growth corridor around Lucas, Alfredton and Delacombe.
"As new homes are being built there's slightly more opportunity coming in to the marketplace," he said.
Last year his company sold 40 per cent of their homes and land in the growth areas to Melbourne buyers, of which about half were bought as investments.
"They are now either settling or have been built new and are coming on to the market, but it's still very competitive."
Rental affordability was also driving the tight market, with Mr Burley saying renters could pay around $420 a week for a fairly new four bedroom, two bathroom, double garaged home in Alfredton, or up to $750 a week for a similar home in Melbourne.
"A lot of people are moving here purely for the affordability and commuting to work in Melbourne," he said.
REIV chief executive Gil King said vacancy rates across Victoria were generally below the 3 per cent vacancy threshold.
"Results of 3 per cent and above are considered to indicate a healthy rental market, Mr King said.
"Vacancy rates at this extremely low level create an incredibly tight rental market and demand is extremely high," Mr King said. "For renters, always do your research and be optimistic: just because 10 people attend an open for inspection, that doesn't mean they will all apply for the property. On the flip side, in many areas of Victoria there are plenty of opportunities for investors."
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The tightest held rental market was Mildura, with a vacancy rate of just 0.9 per cent.
"Vacancy rates at this extremely low level create an incredibly tight rental market and demand is extremely high," Mr King said.
"For renters, always do your research and be optimistic: just because 10 people attend an open for inspection, that doesn't mean they will all apply for the property. On the flip side, in many areas of Victoria there are plenty of opportunities for investors."
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