Rentals increasingly hard to find in northern suburbs

Some northern suburbs rental vacancy rates are lower than Perth’s vacancy rate, which has fallen to 1.3 per cent. File picture

THE northern suburbs, including Yanchep and Two Rocks and some Gingin localities are among areas where it is increasingly difficult to find a property to rent.

According to property data company SQM Research Caraban in the Shire of Gingin had no rental vacancies in August while Yanchep had a rental vacancy rate of 0.4 per cent and Two Rocks’ rental vacancy was 0.8 per cent.

During August the rental vacancy rate in Lancelin in the Shire of Gingin was 1.7 per cent.

The SQM Research statistics showed that back in October 2018 the rental vacancy rate in Caraban was 7.1 per cent.

The highest rental vacancy rates in Yanchep and Two Rocks in recent years were in 2016 – in September that year Yanchep’s rate was 13.6 per cent while in October the Two Rocks’ rate was 16.3 per cent.

On Monday Real Estate Institute of WA said in just two months Perth’s vacancy rate had gone from two per cent to 1.3 per cent and was expected to continue lowering over the coming months.

After Commerce Minister John Quigley said on September 10 that the McGowan Government would extend the moratorium on rent increases and other provisions until March 28 next year in an effort to preserve stability and certainty in the rental market REIWA president Damian Collins said with the extension to the emergency tenancy laws the continuing reduction in supply was starting to look like a recipe for disaster for tenants who were yet to find a property.

Mr Collins said the decision to extend the emergency period for all tenancies was short- sighted and making a difficult problem even worse.

“Unfortunately, sitting tenants are unlikely to move or adjust household size as they are paying below market rents,’’ he said.

“In addition, we are seeing an influx of people trying to find a new rental property in a market with a very low vacancy rate.”

He said instead of a blanket extension, criteria should have been added to the legislation so that only those impacted financially by Covid-19 received the support they needed.

“Right now, investors are sitting on the sidelines partially due to the Covid-19 residential tenancy laws and by extending the legislation on all properties, it means investors are likely to continue to stay out of the market, which will further reduce supply at the worst possible time.

“It’s not too late for the McGowan Government to change their position, as we need to get investment confidence back, so investors bring the badly needed supply of rental properties back into the market.

“Without any change in the policy, it’s feared that a rental shortage will quickly turn into a rental crisis.”

An extra $30 million has been added to the building bonus program, which provides a grant of $20,000 to anyone building or buying a new home. File picture

But at a press conference this morning where the government announced an increase in funding for its building bonus package Treasurer Ben Wyatt said in July there had been a big increase in investor loans and not just owner-occupier loans.

Mr Wyatt said he understood REIWA did not like the policy but the effects of coronarvirus were still here so the government would maintain some form of intervention in the market until March.

He said while the government was committed to its investment in Covid-19 stimulus and relief measures in the early days of the pandemic, Treasury forecasts had predicted a far worse effect on the economy than had been experienced.

“For measures which have not had the uptake originally anticipated, we are re-purposing the money through the Covid-19 industry support fund to provide further stimulus and relief where it is needed most,’’ he said.

“By monitoring sectors of our economy over the coming months we will be able to provide further targeted relief and stimulus for those that need it most.”

The building bonus program was part of the McGowan Government’s $2.7 billion investment in immediate Covid-19 stimulus and relief measures, part of the $5.5b WA recovery plan.

In a statement Premier Mark McGowan said demand for grants through the building bonus program had been high, with 283 building bonus applications submitted, 96 applications approved and $1.92 million in grants paid out to date.

The $30m of additional funding for the building bonus announced today takes the total investment in the program to $147m so the above number will increase as more Western Australians start building new homes, making them eligible for the grant of $20,000.

Mr McGowan said following the introduction of the grants, land sales increased significantly, peaking at around 500 sales a week in late June – this was up from the historical average of around 60 a week.