LOOKING UP: LJ Hooker Warwick owner and principal Rob Finlay says Warwick is a popular spot for people to move.
LOOKING UP: LJ Hooker Warwick owner and principal Rob Finlay says Warwick is a popular spot for people to move. Elyse Wurm

Tree-changers are forcing locals to pay more rent

RENTERS will find it harder to lock down a home and fork out more for it this year, but a tightening of the rental market is an indication of Warwick's desirability as a destination.

City dwellers are choosing to up sticks and move to the Rose City to take advantage of affordable housing and the lifestyle that comes with it.

LJ Hooker Warwick principal Rob Finlay said the number of vacant rental properties on his books had declined, with the agency currently having about five on offer.

"A few of the investment properties have sold over the past few years and the supply is starting to tighten," he said.

"There's quite a few tenants out there trying to get into the market and a lot of people coming to town."

With fewer properties available and more people wanting them, prices are climbing.

"That ceiling of $400 a week has been hard to break but the quality of rental homes at the top end is good and there's people who can afford to pay," Mr Finlay said.

"If you are looking for a rental property, I think it's going to be reasonably tough to find one but people who have a good history will get first choice."

Mr Finlay said more people saw Warwick as an affordable place to live.

"It's a good thing the prices are coming up for the landlords," he said.

"As for the tenants, there'd be enough supply to fill it and, if we find the supply is short, there'll be some developers that will come and build investment homes in Warwick and get a good return."

Warwick has been heralded as a destination of choice for retirees and tree changers and this is having an impact on the property market.

Mr Finlay said people viewed the Rose City as a desirable place to live due to the climate, shopping centres, proximity to bigger cities and accessibility of services.

"I think the outlook for Warwick is positive and people can see it: The number of people we've sold property to, they've been looking at a lot of Australia and settle in Warwick," he said.

PLACE TO BE: Neil Carney says Warwick's real estate market is driven by the local economy.
PLACE TO BE: Neil Carney says Warwick's real estate market is driven by the local economy. Emma Channon

Mr Finlay expects the trend to continue this year, which could catch the interest of investors over time.

"I think you'll see some investment people come in and buy houses that are established or buy some new ones .... they've got to achieve a good result to outlay," he said.

Helen Harm, of Helen Harm Real Estate, said she also noticed a decline in rental vacancies in the past six months.

All but one of seven sales she made recently achieved their listed price.

"That tells me the market has stopped going down," she said.

"At the moment you've got some development happening but, as quick as they're there, they're gone."

Mrs Harm noticed a rise in workers making the move.

"Teachers, tradies, nurses ... with the advent of the expansion at Regency Park there's been a move of people at this time of the year we haven't had previously," Mrs Harm said.

"We're very affordable compared to other regions and our distance to the CBD is closer.

"People are moving here because of that as well."

Today there will be an unprecedented number of 45 houses open for inspection.

Real estate agents around town attribute the spike could to a post-Christmas rush.

Warwick Real Estate director Neil Carney said he had never seen so many in one day.

While there weren't more properties listed on the market, he noticed a surge in interest and sales in the past two weeks, he said.

"We're hoping, once all these employment opportunities come online, we'll hopefully see more sustained growth," he said.

"There's never a bad time to get into the property market, it's all relative to what's happening in the local economy."

Warwick property market facts

- Median house rental $275/week

- Median house purchase price $275,000

- Median unit rental $230/week

- Median unit purchase price $228,500

- 45 open homes today

*See the real estate lift-out guide inside for open home details



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