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House Model and Golden Coins Stacks with blur Background.Savings Plans for Housing,Finance and Banking about House concept. property investing generic,

Vacancy rates fall, rents increase as confidence returns

INTERSTATE investors are returning to the region as demand outweighs supply in a thriving rental market, while more people are also looking to buy a home.

The release of the year’s final Herron Todd White Month In Review property report found Gladstone’s vacancy rate had fallen to 1.8 per cent, the lowest since 2012.

The report stated affordability was still a “key driver” of the market and was attracting newcomers.

Owner of RE/MAX Energy in Boyne Island, Ros Waters, said with progress on projects including solar farms, an abattoir, East Shores Stage 1B, the hospital expansion, and Calliope State High School, confidence was returning to the region.

“Investors went to ground for a long time, and in a steady market you tend to have more investors supplying properties for rent,” Ms Waters said.

“Now, with the recent uptake of rental properties, we’re starting to see more investors purchasing again in Gladstone.

“This week alone, I have spoken with one investor from Sydney who has followed our market trends for many years and has just bought three properties.”

Locations Estate Agents director and property specialist, and REIQ Gladstone zone chair Alicia Williams said the declining vacancy rate was “no surprise”.

“That figure has been slowly creeping down,” Ms Williams said.

She said rents were increasing by $10 to $30.

“Rentals are always a good indicator of what happens with sales, and now that rentals have stabilised, it is a good segue into the sales market,” she said.

The Herron Todd White report found all market sectors in the region had some form of recovery this year.

“We have seen value increases as high as 15 per cent for different property types. This year we also saw two $1 million plus sales in Gladstone, the first that have occurred in over four years,” it said.

LJ Hooker Gladstone principal Mark Spearing, who has kept monthly records of vacancy rates and rental prices for two decades, said current prices were comparable with rents in 2003 and 2004.

“So despite the increases we are still 15 years behind where we’ve previously been,” Mr Spearing said.

“When you consider the increasing costs of ownership, council rates and general insurance, renting is not excessively priced in the current market and nor will it be throughout 2020 despite predicted increases of between 10-20 per cent.”