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REIWA declares ‘rental crisis’ as Perth vacancy rate hits 13-year low

Perth’s residential vacancy rate has fallen to 0.96 per cent, the lowest it has been in 13 years.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia President Damian Collins points out this is only the third time in 40 years it has dropped below one per cent, and that the vacancy rate is tracking to surpass the all-time low of 0.8 per cent, which occurred in March 2007.

“With rental listings in Perth falling eight per cent to 2926 over the month, we have certainly hit a rental crisis where tenants looking for a rental will potentially find themselves unable to find a home,” Mr Collins said.

“In addition, the reduced supply is putting upward pressure on rents with property managers on the ground finding increases in rent are occurring on new leases, as prospective tenants are in competition with each other to secure the limited supply.”

Over the prior two months, Perth’s vacancy rate dropped from 2 per cent to 1.3 per cent.

The Western Australian Government has already made moves to curtail this shortage, announcing The WA Housing Strategy 2020-2030, which aims to increase social housing by 6 per cent across the state, connecting 150,000 households with a home.

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According to the latest data from REIWA, houses in Perth are selling twice as quickly as they were this time last year. This is also due to a shortage.

In September there was a 20 per cent decrease in the number of properties for sale on reiwa.com, compared to the previous year.

Investors, however, are steering clear – a situation Mr Collins puts down partly to the extension of the emergency residential tenancy laws.

“Western Australia has approximately 17 per cent of properties purchased by investors, whereas we would normally expect to see investors buying 30 per cent or more of the available properties,” Mr Collins said.

“At the same time, we still have investors exiting the market, meaning the supply of rental properties is not sufficient to keep up with demand.

“To entice investors back into the market and increase stock levels, we need to ensure that the emergency residential tenancy laws are removed in March 2021.

“The government needs to send a clear signal to the market that they have no intention of extending the legislation further if we remain relatively COVID-19 free. Otherwise investors will continue to sit on their hands and make a bad situation even worse.”

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