Originally Published on Smart Property Investment in May 2020

Fresh research coming out of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has shown a relatively stable start for residential rental vacancy rates, despite the perceived effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest rental vacancy rate data issued by the REIQ shows the state’s overall quarterly vacancy rate is 2.44 per cent.

This represents a marginal increase of 0.1 of a percentage point from the last quarter’s 2.34 per cent. This also represents a slight increase of 0.18 of a percentage point for a year-on-year comparison of 2.26 per cent in January–March 2019, the REIQ noted.

“There’s no uncertainty that 2020 will be a difficult year for the economy,” said Antonia Mercorella, CEO of the REIQ.

“However, what is certain is if you to listen to what market naysayers are currently saying, you’d believe the property market is on the verge of complete collapse and rental vacancies are beyond ruin. What they fail to tell you is that they’re pitching dire worst-case scenarios where coronavirus restrictions are prolonged and a second wave of the disease occurs.

“When stacked up against credible sources and empirical evidence, it’s clear these kinds of predictions don’t reflect what’s really happening in Queensland real estate.”

According to Ms Mercorella, Queensland’s latest quarterly rental vacancy rates show “44 per cent of the state’s regions have experienced a decrease in vacancies, with 77 per cent falling within a tight rental inventory range (0 to 2.5 per cent) and 13 per cent within a healthy rental inventory range (2.5 to 3.5 per cent)”.

Below is a breakdown of some of the state’s regions. More to come.

Brisbane

The Sunshine State’s capital city has seen rental vacancy rates drop by almost 1 per cent “on the back of a better-than-expected 0.5 [of a percentage point] bump in economic growth in the December quarter and 2.2 per cent over the past year”, the REIQ research noted.

Brisbane’s inner-city districts experienced the largest fall in vacancies by 1.2 per cent.

“Across Brisbane, vacancy rates have remained tight which is a great reflection of a healthy market, albeit some more pronounced fluctuations within the apartment sector will inevitably be expected in future data,” Ms Mercorella said.

“Ultimately, Brisbane continues to prove that it’s remained fairly buoyant throughout the current pandemic and continues to be the most affordable capital city in Australia.”

Outer localities

The REIQ found Ipswich saw the biggest reduction in rental stock, with a 0.8 of a percentage point dip to 2 per cent inventory.

“That’s offset by subtle rises recorded in Logan (+0.4 [of a percentage point] to 2 per cent) and Moreton Bay (+0.2 [of a percentage point] to 1.7 per cent),” the REIQ said.

“West of Brisbane, vacancy rates further fell across the Lockyer Valley (-1.8 per cent over two quarters to 3.2 per cent), with a similar tune in Toowoomba, recording a 1.2 per cent decrease to a 1.2 per cent average vacancy rate.”

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