Surf Coast renters faced with moving elsewhere due to the lowest vacancy rate in 30 years.
THE Surf Coast Shire has always enticed people for its highly sought-after lifestyle and coastal access, but there is bad news for those who do not have a permanent stake in the township.
Renters are now at risk of being priced out as COVID-19 continues to inspire city workers for a life by the sea.
The realisation that work can be done from home and the health benefits of living in a less dense community has increased the desirability of the coastal region beyond anything seen in decades.
Local real estate agent, Bryan Hayden from Hayden Real Estate, has confirmed there is zero vacancy for rentals in the area – something which has not been seen for more than 30 years.
“There is nothing that will stay on the books for more than a day,” he said.
The summer months have always created some difficulty for renters looking for a permanent residence as entrepreneurial homeowners use the peak season to generate income.
Mr Hayden said the lack of rentals available has been impacted by two factors.
“The increased number of people wanting to be here over summer or permanently and more particularly there has been a very slow release of land,” he said.
“The development of housing is not keeping pace with the people wanting to be here.”
With the increased interest Mr Hayden has said renters now faced higher weekly bills with the option for purchasing a home becoming even more expensive.
According to realestate.com.au the median housing price is over one million dollars in areas such as Anglesea, while Torquay and Jan Juc sit just below.
Similarly rent between these suburbs is between $475-$500 a week on average.
The demand for Surf Coast properties has presented many landowners with huge economic opportunities however many renters are now being priced out.
Single mother and Torquay resident for over 13 years, Janna Everett, is now forced to look for a new home after learning that her long-term rental had been put up for sale.
Ms Everett and her 14-year-old son had just returned from a camping trip when they received an email informing them that they could soon be without a home.
“It has only just been put on the market but I am not looking forward to trying to find a local rental that we can afford,” she said.
“The Torquay rental market has just gone crazy.”
Ms Everett has been in her rental for four years but says she was not shocked to learn the fate of her home.
“The owner had the place valued twice over the last couple of months, so I had an idea it was coming,” she said.
Ms Everett is concerned for the long-term implications on her son if they are unable to find affordable housing in the area.
“He rides his bike to the local school and gets on his bike all the time to visit friends locally,” she said.
“We don’t have family in Australia, so our whole support network is in Torquay.”
The friends Ms Everett has made during the 13 years spent living in the coastal town have become like family.
“It is really stressful thinking about not having them just around the corner,” she said.
With many locals facing similar situations, Ms Everett believes there will be lasting impact on the local diversity.
“It could end up becoming less community spirited which is a shame,” she said.
The issue of whether to continue to develop the Surf Coast Shire to allow for more properties has already become a heated debate amongst locals.
Mr Hayden believes it is the only option to continue to support the amount of people looking to reside in the region.
“The Surf Coast has always been sought after, it is just that now there is no land,” he said.
“Unquestionably more developments are needed, most people are reflecting on the increase in demand but they are not looking at the decrease of supply.”