Rental vacancies lower here than in Sydney

THE Coffs Coast's tight rental market squeezed even further to end 2017.

The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW)'s Vacancy Rate Survey found Coffs Harbour's residential vacancy was just 1.8 per cent in December.

During the same month, Sydney's rental vacancy rate was 2.2 per cent.

The Coffs result was the lowest for 2017, following a rate of two per cent in November; it's also the lowest vacancy rate recorded since April 2016.

The 2017 rental market was a varied affair however; the highest month for vacancies was May when the rate was more than double to December result at 4.1 per cent. The average rental vacancy rate for the year was 2.8 per cent.

December was a tight month for vacancies along the north coast; the Northern Rivers vacancy rate was at 0.9 per cent and the Mid-North Coast was 1.5 per cent.

Meantime, first home buyers continue their steadily increasing presence in the housing market.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, the proportion of first home buyers, as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments, increased to 18 per cent in November 2017.

"That's the highest proportion since October 2012,” REIA president Malcolm Gunning said.

"The number of loans to first home buyers at 11,091 is the highest since December 2009 when the first home buyers boost, as part of the Government's response to the GFC, ceased.

"By contrast, the value of investment housing commitments decreased by 0.3 per cent in November in trend terms following falls in the previous ten months and is well down from its 2015 peak.

"Overall the figures for November 2017 show, in trend terms that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.1 per cent.

"If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments was flat following thirteen consecutive months of increases.

Mr Gunning said that in trend terms, the number of established dwellings purchase commitments increased by 0.2 per cent while new dwelling construction decreased by 0.7 per cent and the purchase of new dwellings increased by 0.5 per cent.

"It is pleasing to see the increased presence of first home buyers. The figures show that owner occupiers and first home buyers are responding to more stable conditions and, in the case of first home buyers, state government incentives.”

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