Rentals hot property

Rental properties in the region are few and far between and people are feeling the pinch of a high-demand rental market and increasing rental prices.

SAL Real Estate Property Manager Jo Gibbs said there were very few rentals available in Mount Gambier and they would receive anywhere from 40 to 80 applicants for a property.

“I’d say that it’s quite desperate, we seem to have not only local people applying but people from outside of Mount Gambier or from the cities trying to come here,” Ms Gibbs said.

Ms Gibbs said the rental situation was about the same, if not worse, compared to this time last year and she said people were under pressure.

Ms Gibbs said on Thursday last week there were 22 rentals available in Mount Gambier, whereas at this time around two years ago there may have been closer to 150.

“There’s been a number of properties that have sold, I think the sales market is so good at the moment, why would you not capitalise on that?” she said.

Ms Gibbs said some applicants were moving to the area to work in health, however many were moving without jobs to go to or without specifying work as a reason to move and said the lower cost of living in regional areas could also be appealing to people.

She said she could not see the situation getting better soon and believed if interest rates increased it could put further pressure on the rental market.

“For some people that have bought homes, they have never seen an interest rate rise,” Ms Gibbs said.

“I think that financial pressure for people and the increase in cost of living might put people under more pressure to meet mortgage repayments which then, in turn, puts pressure on the rental market.”

Ms Gibbs said there had also been a considerable increase in rental prices over the past 12 months, increasing by $20, to $40 and even $50 a week in some cases, which put more pressure on tenants as some could not afford to rent.

In Penola, TDC Livestock and Property Property Manager Megan McGuinness said it had been challenging to secure a rental in the area.

“It’s been quite difficult to get a rental property, and the rentals that I do have, all of the landlords are asking me to put the rent up on,” Ms McGuinness said.

“I just think they know that rentals are difficult to get and that people are willing to pay more than they have been, or are willing to pay whatever they need, to have somewhere to live.”

Ms McGuiness said many properties that were previously rentals had been bought and people were moving into the properties as owners, forcing tenants to look elsewhere.

“It’s a bit of a difficult situation I suppose for everyone involved, really,” she said.

Millicent Real Estate Property Manager Sue Fabris said rentals were “virtually non-existent” in Millicent.

“I do not have enough houses for the people that I have applications for,” Ms Fabris said.

“There’s a few people who I have had who I have not been able to house, I have had nothing to give them when the houses they have been renting have sold.”

Ms Fabris said she had received calls from Victorians who had been offered jobs in Naracoorte enquiring about Millicent rentals as they could not find anywhere in Naracoorte.

She only had one property available last week at Mount Burr and said on average she would receive eight to 12 applications for a property.

Ms Fabris said one of her ex-tenants resorted to sleeping in his car for a fortnight and eventually went to Victoria with the hope of finding accommodation.

“He slept in his car, waiting and waiting for something to become available and we just did not have anything,” Ms Fabris said.

“He had a job here too and he said it was just impossible to try and keep the job and you had nowhere to go after you knocked off work.”

She believed it was a challenge to find rentals because many people were moving from interstate due to COVID and tenants had to find somewhere else to live due to properties being sold.

“I hope it improves, I really do, because people are getting frightened,” she said.

“The Seventh Day Adventists are very good to people, the charities in town are trying to help out as much as they can but there’s just no accommodation for people.”

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