Families locked out of rental market amid housing shortage
A GROWING shortage of rental properties in Warwick is leaving mothers and fathers stranded without a place to raise their children, and the problem is tipped to worsen as the population grows.
A two-year fight to find a house for her family has led Warwick mother-of-two Kaylia Beverley to every real estate agent in town.
But a highly competitive rental market in the Warwick area means Miss Beverly continues on in limbo, without a place for her and her children to call home.
"There was many times I gave up looking for houses because I just thought I am never going to get accepted," she said.
But as more families move in to the region, Miss Beverley won't be the only one struggling.
Market unequipped for growth
Real estate agents in the Southern Downs are predicting the fight to find accommodation will increase shortly as hundreds of new jobs attract people to the region.
One hundred new jobs have come online since the start of the year and 800 more are expected in the next 12 months.
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said developers needed to take up the opportunity to meet increasing demand for rental properties.
"This is exactly what we knew would happen and it is up to the private sector to put properties up for rent," Cr Dobie said.
But Warwick real estate agent Helen Harm said there won't be anywhere to house newcomers if council's predictions come true.
"By Christmas time you are going to be flat out getting a rental, " Mrs Harm said.
Crisis already here for some
Other real estate companies have already closed rental applications.
Darryl Evans manages a real estate business in Warwick and had to stop accepting rental applications for those looking for four-bedroom houses.
"Every day we have two or three people walk in here and we have got nothing for them," Mr Evans said.
"There is a massive demand on housing but the availability is just not there."
People from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Northern Rivers and Toowoomba were all entering the Warwick rental market, according to Mr Evans.
Positive point for investors
Mrs Harm said the growing demand was pushing rental prices higher than ever before.
"Our rental prices have progressed whereas our housing prices haven't as yet," she said.
A rental property that was $315 a week was now priced at $340 she said.
Mr Evans said the rising rental prices were pushing lower income earners out of the market.
Mrs Harm said the effect on the buyer's market was already starting to show.
"Time on market for a house we used to say six to 12 months but you could safely say that has dropped to three months now," she said.
Mrs Harm said now was a good time to make a long-term property investment in Warwick.
"I think we are in for exciting time," she said."If we are going to have that level of growth it is going to put the house prices up."