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A call to end stamp duty as Queensland’s rental shortage worsens

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland's (REIQ) latest vacancy data shows Brisbane's inner-city rental market is recovering to around a healthy 3 per cent, while the rest of the state experiences uncomfortably low rental stock levels.

As Queensland’s residential property market continues its upward trajectory into the New Year, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s (REIQ) is calling for the Palaszczuk Government to consider abolishing stamp duty.

“Stamp duty is the most significant barrier to home ownership, discouraging housing turnover, restricting mobility and property investment – something we desperately require,” says Ms Mercorella.

 “Every Queenslander should have access to a safe, secure and affordable home that meets their needs and supports them. That’s why the Palaszczuk Government should consider abolishing stamp duty.”

“Urgent action is required to better support both increased and ongoing property investor activity in the Queensland property market and the contributions they make to the state economy.”

While regional areas are experiencing very low vacancy rates, Brisbane’s CBD is making a comeback.

Here, we share the key vacancy data from REIQ’s December quarter by region.

Brisbane

Rental vacancies are placed at 3.3 per cent, down from almost 5 per cent in the Brisbane CBD’s June Quarter.

This makes it the only currently healthy rental market in Queensland.

“While it’s extremely pleasing to see vacancy levels improve within the CBD, the market has yet to fully rebound. The capital was severely hit by COVID-19, particularly when businesses were forced into lockdown,” Ms Mercorella sai.

“Despite the tapering of Federal Government support such as JobKeeper, with business confidence reaching pre-COVID-19 levels, Brisbane CBD has seen around 5 per cent rental share reclaimed off the back of the pandemic.”

Very limited rental stock has not been helped by an influx of interstate migration, she says.

“During the pandemic, the Palaszczuk Government introduced a range of measures keeping tenants in place for longer.

“This is part of the reason we have incredibly low rental availability across Queensland.”

Brisbane’s middle ringPercentage of vacancies
Quarterly rate1.6
Hawthorne1.4
New Farm1.9
Paddington2.1
Saint Lucia1.7

Beyond Brisbane’s CBD, rental vacancies around the city’s middle ring remain extremely tight, with a quarterly rate of 1.6 per cent.

“In the last six months we’ve witnessed some record lows across capital city suburbs; figures we’ve certainly not seen for well over a decade,” Ms Mercorella added.

Further out into Brisbane’s outer ring and vacancies are even tighter, recording a quarterly rate of 1.3 per cent. Every area within the outer region is currently presenting less than 2 per cent stock availability.

Brisbane’s outer ringPercentage of vacancies
Quarterly rate1.3
Ashgrove1.6
Camp Hill1.3
Cannon Hill1.4
Hamilton1.9
Holland Park1.2
Moorooka1.3

Regional areas

Across the state’s regional areas, vacancies rose above 1 per cent.

But for the remaining 90 per cent of regional Queensland, rental vacancies have plunged further to record an all-time median low of 0.575 per cent.

Regional areasPercentage of vacancies
Cairns1.2
Cassowary Coast1.1
Isaac1.1
Mareeba1.5
Whitsundays1.4
Bundaberg0.4
Fraser Coast0.6
Hervey Bay0.9
Mackay0.7
Toowoomba0.7
Townsville0.7
Rockhampton0.2

Rockhampton recorded the lowest rental vacancies for the December 2020 quarter at 0.2 per cent.

Many areas such as Noosa and Sunrise Beach have continued to tighten marginally over the last three months.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast isn’t far behind, with rentals being snapped up across all regions.

Surfers Paradise, which recorded more than 2100 vacant rentals at the peak of the pandemic nine months ago, currently has 0.7 per cent stock availability.

Gold CoastPercentage of vacancies
Arundel0.6
Labrador0.7
Oxenford0.1
Runaway Bay0.5
Southport0.7
Broadbeach0.8
Currumbin0.3
Miami0.2
Palm Beach0.3
Varsity Lakes0.6

The two most popular destinations for interstate migration still remain the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast respectively.

Citing liveability, affordability and lifestyle along with economic opportunities, education and an inclusive society, the Sunshine Coast may be drawing big crowds but its rental market hasn’t shifted in months, firmly gripped at 0.3 per cent.

What’s more, record low vacancies have also been reported across the entire Gold Coast. with a median vacancy of 0.6 per cent in the north.

It’s the same story in the south, with a median vacancy of 0.3 per cent across suburbs including Broadbeach.

Popular coastal areasPercentage of vacancies
Surfers Paradise0.7
Sunshine Coast0.3
Buddina0.3
Caloundra0.3
Maroochydore0.5
Noosa0.4
Sunrise Beach0.5

The Surfers Paradise rental market has rebounded beyond pre-COVID levels to reach a record low never before recorded.

Unsustainable pressure

“What we’re seeing is an unprecedented level of diminishing rental availability that’s placing significant pressure on our State’s housing sector – so much so that it’s unsustainable,” concluded Ms Mercorella.

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