Rental crisis spreads to university towns

“The low level of rental vacancies is not just a Sydney problem,” said Cristine Castle, President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW).

“REINSW members are reporting that the rental markets in many areas across the state are getting tighter.

“Now the regional centres with major universities – such as Wollongong, Newcastle, Bathurst, Armidale and Albury – are feeling the impact of the rental crisis as students arrive over the coming weeks.”

REINSW provides the only comprehensive data on rental vacancies across NSW. The most recent figures showed that last December, vacancies were just 3.7% in Wollongong, 2.4% in Newcastle, 3.5% in the Central West and 2.3% in Albury.

The NSW Government needs to take immediate action to encourage investors to provide more places for tenants to live.

“Rental properties don’t appear out of thin air,” Mrs Castle said. “Politicians ought not to forget that it is mainly the mum and dad investors out there – many of whom are not wealthy – who have invested in the more than 620,000 rental properties in NSW.

“Unfortunately taxes on investment property and other options such as superannuation have forced many of these investors to re-think their strategy. But tenants cannot live in a share portfolio. It will take a major confidence boost to encourage investors to return to residential property, which can still deliver substantial returns over the long term.”

REINSW is lobbying for the abolition of land tax on residential properties – the vast majority of which are investment properties – to provide such a confidence boost.

“Otherwise renting families will find they have nowhere to live,” Mrs Castle said.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of