The Sunshine Coast is experiencing the tightest property rental market in Queensland.
The Sunshine Coast is experiencing the tightest property rental market in Queensland. Erle Levey

The squeeze is on for renters

THE Sunshine Coast vacancy rates are the tightest in the state, which means it's very difficult to find rental accommodation if you're a renter moving to the area.

The latest REIQ vacancy rate data has revealed that the Sunshine Coast LGA is 0.7%. Caloundra and Maroochydore are both at a microscopic 0.4% and Noosa is at a wafer-thin 0.6%.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said this will present challenges to the local economy and to the community.

"Chief among those challenges will be the upward pressure being placed on rents. The Sunshine Coast rents are among the strongest growing in the state,'' Ms Mercorella said.

"While the Gold Coast is the most expensive place in Queensland to rent a three-bed house or a two-bed unit, the Sunshine Coast is experiencing among the most significant increases to median rents.

"Noosa is Queensland's most expensive market for three-bedroom townhouses, with the median rent reaching $610 a week in December 2017.''

Median rents for three-bedroom houses in Noosa Shire and the Sunshine Coast LGA are ranked as the second and third dearest rental markets in the state with rents of $460 and $450 a week, respectively.

The median rents tend to fluctuate somewhat, so the following quarter it could fall by $10 or $20 a week, due to the seasonal factors of the tourism market in this region, but the overall trend is following a steady, definitely upward trajectory.

"Looking back over the past decade of data reveals a history of tight rental markets and the last time the Sunshine Coast was classed as healthy (2.5% to 3.5% vacancy rate) was September 2012,'' Ms Mercorella said.

"The Sunshine Coast is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and it's little wonder that people are flocking to live here, whether it's to rent or to buy.

"We have world-class beaches, stunning hinterland settings and among the best retail and restaurant precincts in the country.''

The REIQ's expectation is that this year will bring more of the same for the Sunshine Coast and Noosa rental markets.

"The area needs additional housing supply to ease the tight conditions,'' Ms Mercorella said.

"Demand will continue to rise as long as the population continues to grow and that growing population needs a roof over its head.''

Fraser Coast started 2017 in weak territory with 3.9% but by December reached the lowest level all year with 1.6%. This is the lowest level reached since June 2008, when the REIQ commenced calculating its vacancies.

As this week's Deloitte Access Economics report shows, Queensland's economic prospects are improving with Queensland the most popular destination for internal migration.

"Our population is steadily growing and people typically rent before they buy, testing out the area before they commit to a mortgage,'' Ms Mercorella said.

"We are confident that Queensland's rental markets will perform steadily throughout 2018.''