With an increase of 1.2 per cent in June 2021, the Perth vacancy rate is at the highest level seen since August last year.
Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) President Damian Collins said the data also showed listings for rent have increased 5.7 per cent in Perth since the end of March.
“While we are still a way off the two to three per cent figure required for a balanced market, the improvements observed since the end of the rental moratorium are encouraging and suggest there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Collins said.
The five suburbs to record the biggest percentage growth increase in rental listings during this time are Balga (108 per cent), Highgate (90 per cent), Osborne Park (67 per cent), Kardinya (60 per cent) and Piara Waters (54 per cent).
“The increase in listings since the end of the moratorium indicates investor confidence is starting to return,” Mr Collins said.
This is also backed up by the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data which shows investor loan approvals in Western Australia (WA) increased to $498 million in May 2021, which is 10 per cent more than April 2021 and 209 per cent more than May 2020.
“The past few years have been incredibly challenging for the WA rental market and during the downturn, a lot of property investors were impacted. This was further exacerbated during COVID-19 when legislative controls, like the rental moratorium and rent freezes, were introduced.
“These measures have hurt the rental market a lot more than they have helped, forcing many investors to exit the market and causing a rental shortage. Now that the rental moratorium is over and the property market is recovering, investor confidence is starting to return.
“As the year progresses, we should see more available rental properties hit the market as investors return and current tenants take advantage of WA’s affordable house prices to become first home buyers. However, this will not happen if investors are further deterred from buying property in WA.”
Mr Collins believes the review of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) posed a “big threat” to the WA rental market.
“Whilst we are seeing improvements in Perth, there are numerous regional areas, such as Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Esperance and Karratha where the rental shortage is still severe and the vacancy rate remains below one per cent,” he said.
“If the outcome of the review is that the RTA is made more onerous for property owners, investors will exit the market in large numbers again, causing stock levels to plummet and rents to soar. With positive trends starting to emerge in the rental market, now is not the time to be making significant changes to the RTA.”