Queensland vacancy rates barely budge over 2023 - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Real Estate


Rounding out a year that was characterised by a highly competitive rental market, the REIQ’s latest Residential Vacancy Rate Report released in January shows incredibly tight conditions continued in Queensland over the December 2023 quarter.

Queensland’s statewide vacancy rate dipped slightly over the quarter to 0.9 per cent, reflecting a fairly consistent state of affairs over the course of 2023.

Of the 50 local government areas (LGAs) and sub regions covered in the report, 22 tightened, 13 remained unchanged, and 15 relaxed (but not materially).

The vast majority of markets remained well within what the REIQ classifies as ‘tight’ (vacancy rates up to 2.5%), and well over half were as low as 1% or below.

It comes as property managers witness sustained demand for private rentals, and while the social housing waitlist climbed to 43,000 Queenslanders in the September 2023 quarter.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said rental properties were still too thin on the ground to provide comfortable choice for Queensland’s sizeable rental population.

“What we’ve seen over the course of the year, is a rental property pool that’s insufficient and under incredible strain,” Ms Mercorella said.

“It’s not necessarily that rentals are impossible to find everywhere in our state, it’s the imbalance between the sheer demand and shortage of supply of rentals at certain price points and locations that’s out of kilter.

“Many are finding it’s a lot less hassle to renew their existing lease than to risk re-entering the fast-moving market, especially if they are attached to their area.”

Ms Mercorella said the REIQ recognised these were particularly tough conditions for the most vulnerable in our community.

“It’s very concerning that families in need are being forced to join the queues in the private rental market because there’s no social housing available to them and no hope on the near horizon of getting to the top of the waitlist,” she said.

“A fair proportion of the distress we are seeing can be attributed to inadequate social housing stock.

“In the year to September 2023, only 269 social houses were completed in Queensland, and we know the social housing waitlist continues to grow.

“While we welcome initiatives such as the purchase of a hotel in South Brisbane to provide housing to those in need, the built-up demand is clearly far greater than the rate of social housing delivery.”

She said for those wondering what lies ahead for the private rental market in 2024, unfortunately, it was difficult to imagine a dramatic turnaround in rental availability.

The unwanted title of tightest rental market in Queensland was shared by the top and tail of the state – Cook Shire in the north and Goondiwindi in the south – both with a virtually non-existent vacancy rate of zero percent.

Not far behind was Banana (0.2%), and Southern Downs, Maranoa, Tablelands, and Charters Towers – all at 0.3 percent. South Burnett and Mareeba both had 0.5 percent vacancies and the Central Highlands and Maryborough hit 0.6 percent.

Much of the Greater Brisbane area hovered around the 1% vacancy mark including Brisbane LGA (1.1%), Ipswich (1%), Logan (1.2%), Caboolture (1.1%), Pine Rivers (1%), and Redland (1%). Moreton Bay (0.8%) and Redland’s Mainland (0.7%) were tighter still, while Redcliffe had the lowest rate in the region at 0.5 percent.

Yet again, the only ‘weak’ market in Queensland was seen in Redland’s Bay Islands (including North Stradbroke, Russell, Macleay, Karragarra, Lamb, Coochiemudlo) at 5.7%.