Squeeze tightens for Gympie renters, but there's good news
THE rental squeeze in Gympie is real, with the average cost of a three-bedroom house jumping more than 7 per cent in the past year.
It is the sixth highest increase of Queensland's 30 major regional centres and was a big part of a wider 9 per cent increase since 2016.
Only Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Hervey Bay and Noosa recorded larger increases in that time
The latest data from the Queensland Residential Tenancy Authority reveals that in the past year the average rent yield of a three-bedroom house in the region rose from $280 to $300 per week.
Landlords of two-bedroom homes were also winners, with the weekly average up from $238 in December 2016 to $263.
Despite the changes the Gympie region still remains a cheap place to rent.
The $300 average is well below the weekly rates on the Gold Coast ($500), Noosa ($493), the Sunshine Coast ($450), Nambour ($420) and Hervey Bay ($330).
Prices for flats have also experienced a shift.
A two-bedroom flat now sets renters back an average of $235, up from $218 in 2016, and three-bedroom flats attract a yield of $290, up from $280.
It is a different story for one-bedroom flats, though.
The average rent paid on these was $180 in 2018, down from $220 in 2016.
Gympie Regional Realty rentals manager Debra Mason said the surge was being driven by one big change.
"The highway," she said.
"It's brought Noosa closer to Gympie."
Ms Mason said the improved road made the region much better value for money to people who would normally stop their house hunting at around Cooroy.
There was some concern that the rising rents could make it difficult for those of limited means.
"I do feel for the pensioners.
"There's always going to be those older properties available but I do struggle to find properties for the aged pensioners."
L.J. Hooker Gympie property manager Tempany Thiery agreed the travel gap had closed between Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.
It was bringing increased interest, and as such "it's becoming a tighter and tighter and more competitive market".
Ms Thiery said there was merit to to fears the market could price people out, but it had not happened yet.
"There's still a lot of properties on the market in the lower rental prices," she said.
Welcome Home Rentals owner Kylie Best said there was a risk of the increases at the top end of the market driving up the cheaper houses.
And the market was definitely moving over the past year, with their rentals' average time on the market now at eight days.
"It just did not stop.
"There was no lull in the market.
"We're seeing more people coming, and they're more organised."
And an already tight vacancy rate (just 0.5 per cent in mid-last year) was being further squeezed with many of their rental owners selling up.
It's bad news for those renting out one-bedroom flats though, where the average intake has plummeted from $220 per week to $180 (18 per cent).
From 2016-17 the Wide Bay-Burnett had the highest rental bond growth of Queensland's regional areas at 6.8 per cent.
It was almost a full percentage point above the state's average, which sat at 5.9 per cent.