BALLARAT'S rental prices have jumped 21 per cent in the past five years but the slightest of improvement has been made in the region's vacancy rates.
And a leading Ballarat real estate agent says the price hike to a median of $340 a week for homes is due to the gamut of new investment properties that have come on the market in the past few months.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria September report, the region's rental vacancy rate sits at 1.7 per cent, which is slightly up on August and now the third best vacancy rate in regional Victoria.
Buxton's Peter Burley said in the past financial year, his agency had sold 607 properties of which 40 per cent had been used as investments.
He said the amount of brand new properties generally meant renters were prepared to pay $20-30 more a week to have access to unused facilities such as reliable heating and cooling.
"As more new homes and land has been developed and titled, more rental opportunities have come onto the market," he said.
"A lot of the properties which are mainly concentrated in the west of the city are being rented to younger renters who are impressed by newer properties and prepared to pay that little bit more."
Mr Burley said buying a new property in a suburb like Alfredton provided a "higher rental yield" in that owners could achieve more rent for their dollar than at an established inner-city property, although the inner-city suburbs such as Soldiers Hill would offer a better return long term.
He added that record low interest rates meant that more young people were looking at buying units as their first home, rather than renting.
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