Rental prices plummet in mining and industry towns

THE rental prices of mining and resources-rich parts of Central Queensland are deflating, inviting back those forced out of town by the high costs.

The most dramatic rental shifts shown by figures from Australian Property Monitors were in Gladstone, Mackay and in the coalfields region of Isaac where the average weekly rent for a house fell by more than $100 in 12 months.

Renting a home in the coalfields near Moranbah cost an average of $600 a week at the end of 2012, it is now closer to $400 a week.

However, the situation has remained solid in Rockhampton with relatively little relief for renters. The Rockhampton average home rental price dropped 7.9% to $350 from $380.

In Gladstone, median rents fell 23% from $572 to $440, a figure high enough to match median rents demanded on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, but a long way from the previous highs facing renters.

In Mackay, rents in the past year fell 19.2% from $520 a week to $420 a week.

As of December, the cost of renting a house in Gladstone, Isaac and Mackay was more expensive than Melbourne's average rent of $375 a week, or Brisbane's average rent of $400 a week.

APM senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson said the fall of rentals in Queensland boom towns was "the hangover after the party" as the resources industry began to cool.

"The prices did get a little over-inflated in the mining areas," he said.

"It was inflated by over-investment by non-local investors.

"We see quite a steep decline in rents over 18 months as (rents) have adjusted backwards."

Dr Wilson said as rents went up, people relocated further away from work because it was cheaper to travel the extra distance.

With rents now falling, some will return so they spend less time commuting."

RENTAL STATISTICS

Australian Property Monitors' Rental Price Series Quarterly Report.

Rockhampton (houses)

Number of rentals - 1400

Median weekly asking rent - $350

Last quarter median price - $360

Mackay (houses)

Number of rentals - 1178

Median weekly asking rent - $420

Last quarter median price - $440

Gladstone (houses)

Number of rentals - 1008

Median weekly asking rent - $440

Last quarter median price - $480



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