Rents rocket across Brisbane as demand exceeds supply

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Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Anton Kardash said the rental property market in the past 12 months had been the tightest since 2007, with agents receiving an average of five applications per rental listing.

"Higher rents are, of course, driven by more demand than supply," Mr Kardash said.

"However, the lower interest-rate environment means rent increases in Brisbane have not been out of step with the current economic conditions."

He said the start of each year was traditionally the busiest time for the Brisbane rental market due to tertiary enrolments and job transfers.

Mr Kardash said the high demand could also be attributed to potential first-home buyers and investors sticking to the sidelines.

Statewide co-ordinator at the Tenants’ Union of Queensland Penny Carr agreed but also said that input costs rarely factored into rent prices.

"The reason people are finding it hard to rent is because the market is not expanding at a fast enough rate to accommodate the growing numbers of people looking," she said.

"We’re seeing a lot of people sharing when they probably would rather not because of rent prices."

Residential Tenancies Authority median rent data shows prices of units, houses and townhouses have increased by at least $90 in the past five years.

Three-bedroom units have jumped $160 to $480 a week from December 2006 to December 2011 and four-bedroom houses $125 to $475 a week in the same period. Property categories where rent has risen least include one-bedroom units with a $90 increase to $300 a week, and three-bedroom houses and two-bedroom townhouses, where there has been a $95 increase to $395 and $360 a week, respectively.

The RTA’s 2010 annual report found that more than 30 per cent of Queensland properties were rented, ranking it second in the country behind the Northern Territory.

Almost half of those properties are in Brisbane.

Houses in inner Brisbane and units in the remainder of the city also had the lowest vacancy rates last year, according to data published by the Queensland Government’s Office of Economic and Statistical Research.

Both were down 0.3 per cent to 2.7 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.

"However, activity from both these types of buyers is beginning to strengthen, which will increase the supply of rental properties to the market," Mr Kardash said.

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