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Rental property numbers could reach 1000 in coming weeks

By Tammy Laval

THE game has changed and tenants are now holding all the cards.

The Mackay region has about 980 properties listed for rent and real estate agents are predicting that will pass the 1000 mark within weeks.

Ray White Mackay City principal Sandra Paul said she had not seen so many properties on the rental market in her 14 years at Ray White in Mackay.

“January is a busy month, and lease inquiries have remained strong, but that will not do a great deal when there are this many properties on the market,” Ms. Paul said. “I have never seen it this high before.”

Ms. Paul remembers when there were only 110 properties listed to rent. That was only two and a half years ago.

“Vacancy rates were below 1%,” she said.

The dramatic shift has not gone unnoticed by tenants.

Rent reductions, and rent negotiations are now common.

On average, Ms. Paul said rents had fallen between $100 and $120 a week.

However, Harcourts Mackay business owner Mandy Hall said the higher end of the market had remained strong.

“There are still people looking to rent in Mackay,” she said.

Ms. Hall said there was about a 50/50 mix of tenants who were moving to Mackay from another region, as well as people who were shifting within the city from one property to another.

Both real estate agents said it was best for property owners to negotiate with tenants, as opposed to running the risk of having a property vacant on the market.

Homes, where maintenance work had been left neglected, would not be occupied in this market, Ms. Paul said.

“Owners will either try or renovate, or they will try and sell the property,” she said.

Her advice for property owners was to be prepared to negotiate.

“It’s better to talk about dropping an extra $20 than have a property sit vacant on the market,” she said.

Some properties had sat ideal for 6-8 weeks.

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