Rents finally take dive as Gladstone unit numbers triple
THE number of units available for rent in Gladstone tripled in the past year and average rental prices have dropped by up to 25% according to data released by the Australian Property Monitors this week.
Now that many construction workers are housed in workers' camps, either on Curtis Island or on the mainland, pressure on Gladstone's accommodation resources has dropped off.
In December 2012 the median price for Gladstone rental units was $725 per week and $450pw for houses.
By December 2013 the cost had dropped to $500 for units and $428 for houses.
Ray White Gladstone director Andrew Allen said 12 to 18 months ago there was unprecedented demand for property and very little supply.
"Lots of houses were under construction but hadn't been completed," he said.
"But rental prices peaked about 12 months ago.
"We've noticed a fairly rapid decrease since then."
Mr Allen has noticed people starting to move to Gladstone from other areas like Rockhampton and Bundaberg.
"It's great to see people being able to afford housing again. It's also really good to see people from outside Gladstone bringing their families to settle in town," he said.
The reduced rent is a big relief for social housing organisations such as the Gladstone Central Committee on the Aging, which provides accommodation for people over 50 and had been approached by desperate younger renters during the rental crisis about 18 months ago.
There are currently 214 households on the social housing waiting list in the Gladstone area.
Administrator Leanne Kendrick said that over the past year these approaches had dropped dramatically.
"We haven't been approached by people under 50 who are ineligible to live here, but there is still great demand from seniors for our services," she said.
Housing and Public Works minister Tim Mander said that rental prices coming down was great news for people struggling with the cost of living, but there was still more to be done.
"There are currently 214 households on the social housing waiting list in the Gladstone area," he said.
"While the waiting list for social housing has decreased by more 20% over the past 12 months, there are still too many families without an affordable place to call home."
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New resident happy at 'sensible' rent
COUNTRY girl Giarne Kingston took advantage of the affordable rent when she moved to Gladstone from Bundaberg last week to start her first job as an occupational therapist.
Originally from a small town, Ms Kingston studied at university in Bundaberg and is keen to live in a community which has diverse employment opportunities.
"My home town had a high unemployment rate. It's exciting to be somewhere that has employment," she said.
Ms Kingston rents her two bedroom cottage in Sun Valley with partner Chris for $320 per week.
She said that for people to move from other areas to Gladstone, the rent needs to be affordable.
"If the rent doesn't stay low, you're not going to get people moving here. We just couldn't afford to.
"I was pleasantly surprised about the rent cost, because I'd heard how high the rent had been and how hard it can be to get accommodation in Gladstone," Ms Kingston said.
"This is my first job out of university, so it's really exciting."