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Is an apartment shortage in Queensland imminent?

By Andrew Bell

If you're hoping to move into a new apartment anywhere in Queensland before the end of the year, it may take a holiday miracle.

During the first few months of this year, vacancy rates in Queensland were at less than 1% across most of the market, says the Financial Review, a 9-year low as demand for rental properties far outpaced supply with former city dwellers continuing to move to regional areas. All the demand — which began even before the start of the global pandemic — for the opportunity to live the balanced, outdoor lifestyle of Surfers Paradise while escaping from the city centres is presently outpacing supply.

This shift, prompted largely by Covid-19, only accelerates the existing upward trend in prices, reports Business Insider; rental prices have increased 30% over the last decade while house prices have increased 50%.

To wit, rents in the Gold Coast have eclipsed those in Sydney by nearly $100, according to data published in the Financial Review. The Sunshine Coast isn't far behind, with median rents just around $55 less than Sydney.

So what does it mean for renters?
This market will require you to act fast. So know what you can afford to pay — common wisdom suggests you shell out no more than 30% of your gross income on rent each month — and know which factors are most important to you. These might range from the quality of nearby schools, the ability to walk to shops or the beach, or perhaps proximity to major roads, certain hospitals or perhaps family.

Then be ready with deposits and any necessary assurances you can offer a prospective landlord. Remember that landlords will be receiving many applications, so think about how you can beat the competition. Preparation is key, including gathering and organising your payslips, your referrals, list of prior rentals, photo identification and cover letter.

The cover letter is a great opportunity to convey why you and your loved ones will take care of the landlord's investment both financially and with care for the space.

Shocks felt in public housing
The increased demand in regional areas like Queensland raises not only prices but also the number of people applying for public housing. In late September 2021, Business Insider reported that there were 27,933 applications pending for public housing. This is a 78% increase in listings on the social housing register with the Queensland Council of Social Service.

Solutions such as newly constructed homes and government funding for affordable housing require longer-term investments and planning. Much of the focus is on affordable solutions that encourage lower-income earners to get on the path to homeownership by way of having a stable rent level early on.

The professionals at Ray White Surfers Paradise can help you best understand local market conditions for rentals and purchase. Our experienced team can advise you regardless of where you're at in the process.  If you'd like to know more about how we can help you achieve your goals in residential real estate, please contact us today.

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