Gladstone’s rental vacancy rate for the first three months of 2020 is 1.6 per cent.
Gladstone’s rental vacancy rate for the first three months of 2020 is 1.6 per cent.

Gladstone’s rental vacancies at ‘record low’

Gladstone's industry driven economy is helping to blunt the impact of the coronavirus and the region's rental market continues to tighten.

The latest data issued by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland shows Gladstone's quarterly vacancy rate is at a 'record low' for the region at 1.6 per cent.

In comparison, during the LNG construction boom Gladstone's vacancy rate hovered between 0.6 per cent (June 2011) to 2.1 per cent (December 2012).

It jumped to as high as 11.3 per cent in March 2016 and has been trending down since.

Vacancy rates remain tight to the north and south, with the rental markets in Bundaberg (+0.9% to 2.4%) and Rockhampton (-0.3% to 1.3%) both relatively stable according to the data from the first three months of 2020.

"The outlier here is Gladstone. With mining and infrastructure projects on the go, demand for trades has boomed - with vacancy results reflecting rental demand by a staggering 2.5% to a record low of 1.6% for the region," a statement from REIQ said.

A rate below 2.5 per cent is considered tight, 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent is healthy and above 3.5 per cent is weak.

The tightening market is reflected in prices, with the median rent for a one-bedroom flat in the Gladstone Regional Council area $180, compared to $152.50 a year ago, according to data from the Residential Tenancies Authority.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said that although 2020 would be a difficult year for the economy, much of the talk of an impending crisis in the property market was overblown.

"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," she said.

"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."

Across the state the overall quarterly vacancy rate is 2.44%, a marginal increase of 0.1% from the last quarter (2.34%).

State government COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in mid-March, and the data offers an initial but limited insight into how Queensland's tourism centres are faring as some short term stays shift onto the longer term market.

The Gold Coast vacancy rate jumped from 1.2 per cent to 3 per cent, compared to a 0.4 per cent increase in the Scenic Rim region.

In Cairns the rate jumped from 1.9 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

"Any further surges in vacant properties across Queensland's tourism regions are likely to be addressed by future tourism-focused initiatives to boost domestic holiday-makers," Ms Mercorella said.

"It's an optimistic start to the year. The next quarter will reveal more about the true impact of COVID-19 on the Queensland rental market."