Investors hit as mining companies rent out vacant homes

MINING and resource companies' renting of houses that had once accommodated their workers is making it tough for Gladstone landlords desperate for tenants.

But an air of optimism surrounds the rental market despite the companies contributing to a glut in rental accommodation that has seen the city's vacancy rates plateau in the past three quarters.

Mining and resource companies have entered the rental market.
Mining and resource companies have entered the rental market.

Gladstone real estate agents have reported that the companies have placed their properties on the market for rent to the general public after months of "sitting" on the homes.

REIQ spokeswoman Felicity Moore said companies had hesitated to put erred by putting the houses on the market as "they didn't know if they were going to ramp up their workforce again".

"Part of Gladstone's problem is that there are slowly more houses being added to the market pool," she said.

"The mining companies sat on their properties for a little while … but as it's become clear that the projects are finished they've decided to rent them.

"That's softened the market a little bit."

The most recent data from REIQ shows the vacancy rate slightly receded to 10.2% in the June quarter from March, our worst since 2008, when it was a stunning 11.3%.

It's the most significant improvement among all of the state's "regional centres" but it suggests the mining companies have compromised on further gains.

But REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the plateau over past three quarters of December, March, and June also suggests the market is unlikely to get much worse.

"While the vacancy rate is high, the good news is that it has not worsened in three quarters," she said.

"We're optimistic that the bottom of the Gladstone market has been met and this market is now stabilising."

But Mrs Moore said our recovery might not be as swift as our fall - where Gladstone's vacancy rate fell from 3.8% in March last year to 11.3% a year later.

Bundaberg was the state's only regional city to track backwards, dropping 1.1 percentage points in the past quarter to 6.3%.

But Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Mackay, and Townsville all made minor gains.