Queensland vacancy rate September quarter.
Queensland’s vacancy rate sits at 1.0%. Image: Canva.
  • Queensland's vacancy rate sits at 1.0%.
  • 32 Queensland regions have tightened this quarter.
  • Given competitive conditions, the median length of tenancies has grown.

The property market remains a challenge for renters in Queensland as vacancy rates have tightened at 1.0% over the September quarter, according to the Real Estate of Institute of Queensland’s (REIQ) latest quarterly Residential Vacancy Rate Report. 

It is not a secret that renters throughout the nation have been struggling to secure accommodation, with the national vacancy rate plummeting further in September to a record low of 1.06%.

According to a new PropTrack report, the Greater Brisbane area’s vacancy rate is tracking at 0.86%, and regional Queensland is tracking at 0.89%.

Vacancy rates for all dwellings – September 2023

vacancy rates proptrack 2023
Source: PropTrack.

The state of regional Queensland

REIQ’s report, which covered 50 local government areas and sub-regions in Queensland, revealed that 32 regions tightened, 11 held steady, and a mere seven relaxed this quarter.

However, of the markets that did tighten, most only did so at 0.1% to 0.2%.

REIQ CEO, Antonia Mercorella, said while more ‘for lease’ signs were peppering the neighbourhoods, rental stock was getting snapped up quickly.

“Over the September 2023 quarter, we can see that we’re still in a situation where there simply isn’t enough rental supply or choice for tenants.”

Antonia Mercorella, REIQ CEO

Mercorella added that given such competitive conditions, there was less turnover of tenants, with the median length of tenancies growing to 22 months for houses and 17.4 months for units.

“While more rentals are becoming available, they aren’t lasting on the market for long,” she said.

“Even our less densely populated areas are experiencing the squeeze – in some regional markets, rental listings are an extremely rare commodity as evidenced by a shocking zero vacancy rate in Cook Shire this quarter.”

Antonia Mercorella
Antonia Mercorella. Image: Supplied.

Along the NSW border, the Goondiwindi Region also experienced a shockingly low vacancy rate of 0.1%.

Charters Towers (0.2%), Southern Downs (0.3%), Banana (0.3%), Maranoa (0.4%), South Burnett (0.4%), Tablelands (0.4%), Maryborough (0.4%) and Mareeba (0.5%) similarly showed discouraging figures for renters, with barely any new rental opportunities presented this quarter.

However, Burdekin saw a bump in the vacancy rate this quarter, rising from 0.9% to 1.4%.  Bundaberg, Gympie, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim lifted marginally to 1.2%, while Townsville, Central Highlands and Isaac dipped to 0.8%.

The Gold Coast (1.2%) and Cairns (0.9%) remain unchanged quarter to quarter.

There were a couple of outliers, like Redland’s Bay Islands, which had a weak vacancy rate of 6.2%, and Mount Isa, straddling the line between a tight and healthy market at 2.5%.

Tighter conditions have not blunted progress

Mercorella said that despite the slim pickings, for the most part, conditions have not dramatically changed this quarter, and renters generally have more choice now than they did a year ago.

“Previously we had two consecutive quarters of vacancy rates softening, and this slight tightening during the September quarter is not significant enough to undo all of that welcome reprieve.

“Vacancy rates act as a report card for the health of our rental markets, and while results vary across the state, a relatively stable September quarter hasn’t dashed our hopes that healthier rates could still be on the horizon.”

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