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Bushfires may intensify housing shortage

The bushfire crisis is likely to further impact the already tough housing market in regional Victoria, according to the REIV.

Fierce fires continue to ravage Eastern Victoria, with over 75,000 private dwellings under threat. Meanwhile, locals will soon return to their homes and try and rebuild their lives.

REIV President Leah Calnan said, with many homes impacted, a lot of bushfire-affected residents would be turning to rental homes while their homes were rebuilt, a process that will be made harder given the lack of rental homes already available in this region.

Housing is already limited in this region, she noted, with East Gippsland and Wellington Shire having a rental vacancy rate of just 0.9 per cent, Latrobe Valley on 1.3 per cent, the Wodonga region on 1.7 per cent and the Goulburn Valley on 2.5 per cent.

Ms Calnan said more rental homes were urgently needed.

“Bushfire-affected families will be turning to the rental market while they rebuild. They face a tough search given the lack of rental properties across the region.” Ms Calnan said.

“This is a beautiful area with many holiday homes, and we are calling on holiday home owners in this region to consider putting your home on the rental market to help with the shortfall of rental housing and help these families find a new home.

“It can take months if not years for a family to rebuild their home, those looking to stay in the community will be searching for rental properties, we need owners of vacant properties in this region to consider renting it out.

“Sadly, these markets are already struggling for rental homes, so any extra homes would be greatly appreciated.”

Ms Calnan said investors and holiday home owners were not necessarily from affected areas, but they could be from Melbourne or across Victoria.

“We are calling on them to put their properties on the market and help a bushfire-affected family put a roof over their heads.

“After surviving a bushfire, the last thing you want to be doing is taking on a long drawn out search for a rental home.

“Extra rental homes will allow these people to stay in the communities they love.”

“Given the strong demand for rental home, properties will be leased at a rapid pace, reducing the stress for landlords.”

*Data sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census

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