Must address rental undersupply – political parties

May 2022Karen Millers

Rental shortages, and lack of affordable rentals, are becoming a hot political topic coming into the federal election.

Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) has now joined the long list of peak bodies and industry advisors calling on all sides of the political spectrum to address the critical undersupply of rental properties.

PIPA have stressed that this must be a key policy of whoever wins the upcoming federal election.

Residential rental vacancy rates have hit 16-year record lows due to investor activity being well below average over the past five years in particular, according to new research.

PIPA chair Nicola McDougall said that while investors made a return to the market last year, they had been mostly absent from the market for a number of years beforehand, which significantly reduced the supply of rental properties available for tenants.

According to CoreLogic analysis, investors comprised 32.6 per cent of mortgage demand by value in January 2022, up from a recent record low of 22.9 per cent, but below the decade average of 34.9 per cent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: ABS lending indicators Jan 2022 and CoreLogic

“The main reason why many investors did not purchase properties from 2017 is that nationwide lending restrictions prevented them from doing so,” Ms McDougall said.

“At the time, the restrictions were mainly because of the strong property price growth in Sydney during the mid2010s, however, the instigation of fewer interest-only loans as well as higher interest rates on investment loans impacted investors around the nation.

“At the same time, asking rents were mainly benign, so the combination of higher mortgage costs together with flat-lining rents were also an impediment to the investor market.”

According to SQM Research, the national residential property rental vacancy rate fell to 1.2 per cent in February 2022 – a fresh 16-year low.

Available rental properties plunged in the Melbourne and Sydney CBDs, while capital city asking rents have soared 9.4 per cent over the year to March.

SQM Research data also shows:

• In Brisbane, the vacancy rate has fallen from 3.5 per cent in March 2017 to 0.9 per cent in February 2022. The asking rent for houses has increased 19.5 per cent over the year to March.

• In Adelaide, the vacancy rate has fallen from 1.7 per cent in March 2017 to 0.4 per cent in February 2022. The asking rent for houses has increased 15.6 per cent over the past year, and

• In Perth, the vacancy rate has fallen from 5.0 per cent in March 2017 to 0.6 per cent in February 2022. The asking rent for houses has increased 13.7 per cent over the past year.

Ms McDougall said even with our international borders mainly closed over the past year, Sydney’s vacancy rate hit two per cent in February this year with the asking rent for houses soaring by 17.1 per cent over the past year, according to SQM Research.

“It’s not enough for political parties to simply offer piecemeal funding for ‘affordable housing’ when there is currently a critical undersupply of rental properties that was written in the cards in 2017 when lending restrictions came into play,” Ms McDougall said. “Political parties must develop a significant and sustainable policy that increases the supply of rental properties around the nation in vein of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which was scrapped after only a few years.

“With overseas migration set to soar over the coming years, where are these new Aussies going to live if we don’t even have enough rental properties to house our current population?”

 

Dean Webster, Bellarine Times, Bellarine, 5 May 2022

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