Rental property undersupply four years in the making

May 13, 2021 BY

PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE critical undersupply of rental properties in many locations around the nation is partly the result of lending restrictions that came into force four years ago, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia.

PIPA Chairman Peter Koulizos said that the restrictions on investment lending that began in March 2017 saw a drastic reduction in investor activity, which slashed the usual supply of rental stock being added to the market.

“Investor activity dropped about 50 per cent from March 2017 to May 2020 because of the lending restrictions that were applied carte blanche to investors around the nation four years ago,” he said.

“Back then, the restrictions came into effect because of the strong property price growth in Sydney, but investors everywhere were also blocked from securing finance even in markets with benign market conditions at the time, such as Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.”

The vacancy rate industry standard for a balanced rental market is three per cent with any percentage below that figure considered to reflect a market with more demand than supply, according to PIPA.

Mr Koulizos said that a number of capital cities and regional locations have vacancy rates of less than one per cent at present.

“Vacancy rates in inner-city Sydney and Melbourne have spiked over the past year due to the loss of international students and overseas migrants, but even many suburbs in these cities are also experiencing an undersupply of rental properties,” he said.

According to SQM Research, the national asking rent for houses has increased 15.9 per cent over the past year and the asking rent for units has risen by 7.6 per cent over the same period.

Mr Koulizos said that the pandemic had added more the pressure to the already dwindling rental supply in regional areas due to the increased migration of people into lifestyle areas.

“Demand for rental properties in many regional locations is far outweighing supply with rental prices skyrocketing over the past year,” he said.

“This critical situation is forcing some renters to move further afield because they can no longer afford to live in a region that they have sometimes called home for decades.”