Rents dip slightly but aren't expected to stay there long
FOR renters in Gladstone the news is good but not great - the cost of rent in Gladstone has fallen slightly over the past three months.
The latest round of statistics from the Residential Tenancies Authority confirms what some real estate agents have been saying since July.
New workers' accommodation on Curtis Island, along with increased housing on the mainland, appears to have eased pressure on the rental market.
While any drop is welcomed, it will be cold comfort to most renters, with median prices remaining extremely high.
An average three-bedroom house now costs $500 per week, which is a drop of $20 from three months ago.
However, the same house was worth $290 three years ago.
Most professionals expected the cost of rent in Gladstone to drop as soon as workers' accommodation came on-stream on Curtis Island for the three LNG construction projects there.
Bechtel has more than 2000 workers living on the island.
While progress in providing worker accommodation was always expected to reduce upward pressure on rental prices, nobody is expecting a major fall.
Real estate agents have told The Observer they expect an influx of workers in the first half of next year when more projects begin.
Gladstone deputy mayor Matt Burnett says news of a drop in rental prices is welcomed, but he does not expect the rental crisis to end in the foreseeable future.
"I don't think it's going to stay that way," Cr Burnett said of the prices. "I think you will find we will need more housing."
Cr Burnett said a queue of major projects waiting to ramp up in the region meant rental prices would not drop too far.
He said there was a strong chance the cost of rent would continue to rise next year.
Apart from the LNG projects, other projects definite or likely to go ahead at some stage in the next few years include WICET Stage 2, QR National projects, a new plant for Boulder Steel and a gas power plant by TRU Energy.
Cr Burnett said it was frustrating that the State Government had not planned earlier for the housing shortage.
"We warned them three or four years ago that this would happen," he said. "We told them what would happen, but they ignored us."
Meanwhile, there appears to be little doubt the workers' accommodation on Curtis Island and at Calliope have been the pivotal factor in reducing pressure on the rental market, even if it is only temporary.
On July 20, Ray White Gladstone property manager Dannielle Williams told The Observers the agency had already begun to see a pattern of falling rental prices starting a month earlier.
She and her colleagues had no doubt about the reason.
"I honestly think it is the new workers' camps on Curtis Island and at Calliope," Ms Williams said at the time.
Median weekly rent:
- Two-bed unit: June $420, September $420
- Three-bed unit: June $600, September $600
- Two-bed house: June $450, September $450
- Three-bed house: June $520, September $500
- 4 bed house: June $650, September $630
- Two-bed townhouse: June $470, September $400