HIGH DEMAND: Coffs Harbour rental properties are in higher demand than in Sydney.
HIGH DEMAND: Coffs Harbour rental properties are in higher demand than in Sydney. Trevor Veale

Renting harder in Coffs than Sydney

SPARE a thought for those spending their Saturday mornings looking for a home to rent; Coffs Harbour's rental vacancy rate has hit it's lowest level in more than eight years.

According to the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), the region's vacancy rate fell to just 1.5% in March. The result represented a 0.8% decline from February and was the lowest result recorded since November 2007.

In a move that has even surprised REINSW President John Cunningham, the result means it was harder to find a rental property in Coffs Harbour in March than it was in Sydney, where the vacancy rate was 1.7%.

"It's very unusual for a regional area," Mr Cunningham said.

The REINSW president said the low rate can be attributed to two main causes.

"I've been speaking to local agents to get coal face view and they say things moving really quickly. There is very little stock on market and what stock is on the market moves rapidly," he said.

"Highway works are also at a critical point with workers wanting to set themselves up not just north or south of Coffs, but right across the region."

Mr Cunningham said it is also feasible to attribute some of the rental shortage to APRA regulations which have led to a tightening on investor lending.

"If we go down the path of playing with negative gearing, it'll change things further. We need vacancy rates to be sitting at more reasonable levels; 1.5% is too low to keep balance in the market."



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