Migration to Toowoomba drives low rental vacancies
A STRONG migration of people to Toowoomba from the coast has helped fuel the city's low rental vacancy rates.
That's the view of agents in Toowoomba, after the region continued its strong occupancy rates in the rental market into the September quarter.
Toowoomba has one of the lowest vacancy levels in the state, with the region recording a rate of just 1.9 per cent according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.
It is the second-best among regional centres, and is in the top 10 when compared against Queensland.
LJ Hooker's head of operations Jeremy Lewis said the strong performance could be attributed at least partially to Toowoomba attracting more workers, who used the rental market as a launchpad into home ownership.
"What we can read is we're having a lot of migration into Toowoomba," he said.
"Around 40 per cent of inquiries from real estate is from a non-local base, so there are investors buying property and that is driving demand.
"The key is that our migration is up for white-collar and skilled workers that's underpinning the vacancy rates.
"It's pushing that huge foreign inquiry and that's what has created such stability."
Stability has been the theme of Toowoomba's rental vacancy rates for the past seven years.
While other regional centres like Mackay, Gladstone and Rockhampton have witnessed large peaks and troughs for available rental properties since 2011, the Garden City has gone over three per cent vacancy just six times in 32 quarters.
Mr Lewis said he preferred to see markets with vacancy rates below three per cent, which offered enough variety of choice while still creating enough demand.
"It's actually a tightly-held investment market, which is why 40 per cent of our interest online is from outside Toowoomba," he said.
"You always know you're going to get a tenant and that's the point in the marketplace that's really crucial.
"Predictability provides confidence which then turns into transactions."