City rentals prices drop as tenants seek value

By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au

SOME tenants are leaving Housing Commission properties and taking better and cheaper privately owned properties instead.

Real estate agents say greater availability of rental properties has forced rents down to a low level, encouraging renters to seek lower-priced rental properties elsewhere.

Some properties have remained empty for weeks on end. Local experience has been confirmed by figures provided by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

These show that Gladstone is the only centre among 15 Queensland provincial cities listed to have a rental drop of 6.3 per cent, from $160 to $150, for twobedroom flats from March 2004 to March 2005.

Also Gladstone is one of two cities among those same 15 to have a rental drop for three bedroom houses. Gladstone's rentals from March 2004 to March 2005 dropped 9.1 per cent, from $220 to $200. (The REIQ says the figures are based on a small sample of data and should be used with caution.)

Gladstone REIQ president Mary Ayscough said there was a huge oversupply of rental properties at this time.

'People are looking at negotiating with vendors to bring the rentals down,' she said.

'It's been like that for the past three or four months.'

Peter Richardson of Richardson Realty said 'there is no question that there is an oversupply of rental properties'.

'Blue collar tenants with income to pay rentals are becoming very scarce,' he said.

He said this had led investors with rental properties to bring down rentals, but they were only able to go down so far without getting themselves into trouble.



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