Homes for rent now in short supply

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

The shape of Bunbury’s rental market is changing, according to industry experts — even if median house rental prices are not.

REIWA figures revealed that while Perth experienced its first median price increase in the June quarter since 2016, Bunbury’s median price fluctuated slightly over the same period.

Bunbury’s median house rental price in December 2016 was $335 a week before it dropped to a low of $320 a week during the September quarter of 2018, only to recover and return to $330 a week as of June this year.

What Bunbury and Perth’s markets do have in common according to REIWA Bunbury branch chairman Drew Cary, was a lack of vacant rental properties.

“It’s a particular segment of the market that’s really hot at the moment,” he said.

“Any residential 4x2s are really hard to get at the moment which is quite interesting because it hasn’t been that way for many years.”

Mr Cary attributed record low interest rates and attractive government incentives to buy as the chief reason for the low rental vacancy count while REIWA president Damian Collins noted the rental market in Perth was beginning to strengthen.

“The increase in the rental market activity could be the start of recovery, a factor we are keen to keep an eye on for the second half of the year,” Mr Collins said.

“This quarter we have seen a 15 per cent decrease in listings for sale and a 10 per cent increase in listings for rent, which demonstrates that some owners are choosing to hold and rent their properties, rather than selling.”

Similar rental vacancy periods were also shared between the markets, separated by just half a day.

The median unit rental price in Bunbury was revealed to have gone the opposite direction to houses, fluctuating more often than houses and as of June, sat at $280 a week in comparison to the $300 a week it was in December 2016.

“Because most people are preferring houses, unit prices have fallen away the most previously,” Mr Cary said.

“As house vacancies become even harder to get into, people will look for units as an option... they were very attractive relative to houses up until recently, but that’s starting to change again.”

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