WITH Ballarat's median rental rates soaring to a record $340 a week, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria is calling on investors to open up their properties to long-term renters.
Ballarat is just one of a host of regional Victorian centres which has seen a steep rise with a 12-month climb of 7.9 per cent, or in dollar terms up $25 a week.
Geelong has seen a 6 per cent increase, while Bendigo has climbed 3.2 per cent.
Regional Victoria as a whole has seen a 6.1 per cent rise across the past 12 months.
REIV CEO Gil King said as competition grows, it is becoming increasingly tougher for tenants to find a home.
"We have received reports of more and more owners turning to short term rental accommodation options like AirBNB to rent their rooms out," Mr King said.
"We need more incentives to convince investors to put their houses back on the market.
"The current housing market conditions are ideal for landlords, and owners are getting great returns on their investments, we encourage everyone to rent out their investment properties.
Mr King said property managers were being "absolutely swamped" by enquiries when they are advertising new homes for rent.
"Now is an ideal time to lease out your property, landlords are getting great rental returns and have access to a larger and more diverse pool of rental applications to choose from."
One silver lining for Ballarat renters is the influx of new properties, particularly in the south-west of the city has seen the availability rate climb to, a still low, 1.7 per cent.
But due to many of the properties being brand new, renters are likely to pay and extra $20 to $30 a week to secure up-to-date facilities such as split-system heating and cooling, automatic garages and modern cooking facilities.
Senior sales agent at Buxton Real Estate Peter Burley said new homes in suburbs such as Alfredton and Delacombe offered a faster rental yield than more established suburbs.
"If a brand new home is worth $400,000 that would rent for say $430 a week which gives you a 5.5 per cent yield.
"In a more established or inner-city suburb, you might pay $600,000 but only getting a $450 a week, which means you get less immediate return.
"However, investors will have better long term capital growth in a more established area. It's simply the difference between immediate return and long term."
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