Vacancy rates remain below three per cent

With rental vacancy rates in regional Victoria still at levels below three per cent, current tenants may wish to instead speak to a mortgage broker about buying a property.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), the tight rental market is particularly evident in Bendigo and Ballarat, which have vacancy rates of 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

And while vacancy rates in Melbourne have eased slightly – from 2.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent in June – there is still considerable room for improvement, according to REIV communications manager Robert Larocca.

He said: “The availability of rental homes has been very poor for the past six years and renters will welcome the recent increase in the vacancy rate.”

But Mr Larocca added: “The fact the vacancy rate is still below three per cent indicates that there are still too few rental homes.

Earlier this year, REIV head Enzo Raimondo remarked that the median rent for a three-bedroom house in Victoria’s capital city has increased by 43.5 per cent in the past five years.

He anticipated that a tight rental market is expected to continue for the foreseeable future until the undersupply of residential property that was exacerbated between 2005 and 2009 can be corrected.

Tight vacancy rates are being experienced elsewhere in Australia as well. In April, figures from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland indicated that vacancy rates in Brisbane fell to 1.8 per cent – with rents expected to rise throughout the year.

However, the full impact of a housing supply shortage is often not recorded until several months have passed.

Changing property values in post-GFC Australia mean that many renters are currently working out whether it may be more cost-effective to take out a new home loan than pay weekly or monthly rent to a landlord.

In Sydney, for example, figures published this week by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales indicate that housing is now two per cent more affordable when compared with the previous quarter. This change is largely attributed to a slight easing of mortgage rates, coupled with earnings growth.

With low, steady interest rates and other fundamental shifts in the property market, purchasing a new home may be a prospect well worth considering.

A mortgage broker can help you assess your current situation and offer advice on the best home loan products that can suit your needs. If you are a first-time buyer, you may also be eligible for various state grants and other financial support for your property purchase.

You also may wish to carry out your own independent research to learn more about the areas where it may be more affordable to purchase a home than rent one.


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