"While conditions are extremely challenging Ms Hart said she was heartened by the response of REIWA members to many tenants’ situations."
Perth’s vacancy rate held steady at 0.7 per cent in October, according to REIWA data.
“The Perth rental market remains extremely tight,” REIWA CEO Cath Hart said.
“The vacancy rate has been below 1 per cent since August 2022, and shows no sign of changing in the short term.
“The imbalance between supply and demand is the greatest factor affecting the rental market at the moment. While the decline in number of rental properties appears to have stabilised, it is not increasing. Local investors are still selling and although Eastern States investors are showing a lot of interest in our market, they seem to simply be replacing those who have left.
“Nor have building completions been the saviour we were hoping for a year ago. In the last three financial years WA has averaged 14,000 new dwellings per year. During that time the number of households has grown by about 60,000.
“In addition, the ongoing delays in the building industry are keeping people in their rental properties longer, impacting the usual turnover of the market.”
Ms Hart said REIWA had engaged strongly with the WA government over the past 12 months, regarding the rental market, sharing the Institute’s unique market data and analysis, as well as valuable insights from those on the ground – REIWA members.
“We are very pleased the WA Government has recognised supply is the key issue facing the market and that strict legislative measures – such as rent caps and freezes - would have a negative effect. As a result they’ve announced a range of measures to boost supply and aimed for balanced tenancy legislation,” she said.
“We particularly welcome the new Housing Supply Unit, which aims to boost supply and affordability, and recently we were very pleased to see the launch of the WA Rental Relief Program – aimed at helping vulnerable tenants at risk of eviction due to arrears, and by extension, investors facing financial stress due to those arrears.
“We also commend their incentive-based, rather than punitive, approach to the short-stay market. We know short-stay isn’t the silver bullet to solve the problems we are facing, but if the new scheme adds a few properties to the rental market, that’s a positive outcome for tenants desperately seeking a home.”
While conditions are extremely challenging Ms Hart said she was heartened by the response of REIWA members to many tenants’ situations.
“I’ve seen our member community rally to find good tenants a new home when the one they are renting is sold or the lease comes to an end,” she said.
“There have also been a few recent incidents where rental properties have been destroyed by fire and the property management community has worked quickly to find the tenants a new home.
“We know it’s incredibly tough out there, but we all need to work together. I encourage tenants with concerns about their situation to speak with their property manager, there may be something they can do to help.
“If you are facing challenges finding a rental property, contact a local REIWA property manager and ask what you can do to improve your chances, it may be something simple like ensuring all your documentation is up to date when you make an online application.
“And tenants are welcome to call our free Information Service on 9380 8200 for advice. They are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.”
The Cook Government has introduced a Bill to Parliament regarding the planned reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act announced in May.
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