Perth rental crisis as vacancy rates drop below 1%

author-avatar By on October 22, 2020
Perth rental crisis as vacancy rates drop below 1%

Photo by George Bakos on Unsplash

Perth's residential vacancy rate has plummeted to 0.96%, the lowest level in 13 years.

It's only the third time in 40 years the vacancy rate has dropped below 1%, with rents set to spike as a result. 

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) President Damian Collins said the rate could drop below the lowest ever recorded rate of 0.8% in March 2007. 

“With rental listings in Perth falling 8% to 2,926 over the month, we have certainly hit a rental crisis where tenants looking for a rental will potentially find themselves unable to find a home,” Mr Collins said.

“In addition, the reduced supply is putting upward pressure on rents with property managers on the ground finding increases in rent are occurring on new leases, as prospective tenants are in competition with each other to secure the limited supply.”

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.

Perth typically sees an influx of investors in the Spring selling season which increases housing stock, but this hasn't been the case so far this year.

Mr Collins said if investors weren't encouraged back into the market the situation would only worsen. 

“Western Australia has approximately 17% of properties purchased by investors, whereas we would normally expect to see investors buying 30% or more of the available properties," he said.

"At the same time, we still have investors exiting the market, meaning the supply of rental properties is not sufficient to keep up with demand."

The Western Australian (WA) government recently announced an extension to the moratorium on evictions and rent increases until March 28 2021. 

Mr Collins said the government needed to ensure these provisions were not extended further so investors could feel confident in returning to the market. 

"The government needs to send a clear signal to the market that they have no intention of extending the legislation further if we remain relatively COVID-19 free," he said. 

"Otherwise investors will continue to sit on their hands and make a bad situation even worse.”

At the time of the extension announcement, WA Commerce Minister John Quigley said the extended moratorium was vital for the state's economic recovery. 

"Western Australia is entering a period of economic recovery, however with the threat of COVID-19 and a second wave still real, extending the rent moratorium protects WA renters and landlords, and helps create stability for everyone," Mr Quigley said. 

"For residential tenancies, low vacancy rates for rental properties have, and will continue to force rents to rise, and this together with the current unemployment rate, as well as changes to JobKeeper, means families may find themselves in financial hardship.

"To add difficulties in finding rental accommodation or not being able to afford rent to their worries would be an awful proposition."

WA joined every other state, except Queensland, in extending the moratorium on evictions. 


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au in 2019. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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