Gympie renters are struggling to find housing as the region is caught in the grip of one of Queensland’s tightest rental markets.
Gympie renters are struggling to find housing as the region is caught in the grip of one of Queensland’s tightest rental markets.

Staggering numbers inside Gympie’s rental crisis

GYMPIE, we have a rental problem.

Actually, a “crisis” would closer to the truth with the region officially in the grip of the fourth tightest rental market in Queensland.

Whichever way you slice it, statistically or anecdotally, the details are not good.

Last months’ issue of the Queensland Market Monitor reported Gympie’s residential vacancy rate was 0.8 per cent, even tighter than it was when COVID-19 struck.

Only Maryborough, Mount Isa and Rockhampton were tighter.

Gympie’s vacancy rate in September was 0.8 per cent; only three other regions had a lower rate. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Gympie’s vacancy rate in September was 0.8 per cent; only three other regions had a lower rate. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

For those in the market the median rent for a one-bedroom flat in this region soared from $190 to $223 in the past year; a 17.1 per cent jump.

Three-bedroom flats went up 10.1 per cent (from $273 to $300).

The needle also moved for two and three-bedroom houses, each costing 6 per cent more to rent.

Renting a two-bedoom house now sets tenants back an average of $280 per week (up from $265), and three-bedroom houses cost an average $318 each week (up from $300).

The only drop in price was on two-bedroom flats; these shrunk by 1 per cent (from $250 per week to $248).

Readers and rental hunters were quick to share their pain when The Gympie Times asked if they felt there was a rental crisis in the region.

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Century 21’s Billy Mitchell says Gympie’s market has become a gold mine for property investors. Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times
Century 21’s Billy Mitchell says Gympie’s market has become a gold mine for property investors. Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times

Mother of four Jodie Santowski said she and her family had been hunting for a home top rent since February, and Wendy Penn said the market was impacted by landlords “selling their rental properties as the house starts to require repairs”.

“I had to move twice in 12 months for that reason, and moving is very expensive,” she said.

Mary Condon said major developments in the region were not going to ease the stress as “workers on the new road (Gympie Bypass) come to town and also require housing”.

On the other side of the coin, the news was good for investors.

Century 21 principal Billy Mitchell said the agency was getting “15-20 applications per property when it hits the market”.

The average weekly rent for two and three-bedroom houses has jumped by almost 6 per cent in the past year.
The average weekly rent for two and three-bedroom houses has jumped by almost 6 per cent in the past year.

Mr Mitchell’s rental roll is the largest in the region (he estimated it had about 60 per cent of the available properties in the region), and it was rare for an opening to appear.

“We were under 1 per cent (vacancy) consistently for the past 12 months,” he said.

And although had not seen a lot of the practice himself, there were cases of people offering to pay above the listed price in an effort to secure it.

He said one fix would be for the council to speed up its development approval processes so more housing could be built.

“There’s plenty happening in the construction industry,” he said.

“(The market) will catch up (to demand), but it’s a good time to be an investor in the region.”