A Ballina house on the rental market in January
A Ballina house on the rental market in January

Can’t find a place to rent? You’re not alone

RENTERS on the Northern Rivers are navigating a challenging market.

Some families have been forced out of the area, unable to afford a home.

A newly-released report by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales has revealed the rental vacancy rate on the Northern Rivers has been consistently low for months, coming in at 1.5 per cent in December 2019.

Vacancy rates across all parts of the region are below the state average of 2.12 per cent.

Ballina's rental vacancy rate is 1.26 per cent, Byron's is 1.45 per cent, Kyogle's is .41 per cent, Lismore's is 1.09 per cent and Richmond Valley's is 0.89 per cent.

REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said low vacancy rates put pressure on house hunters and upward pressure on rents.

"I would think 1.5 per cent is a bit lower than what the community would want, particularly the tenancy community," he said.

"The old rules of supply and demand kick in.

"It puts pressure on rents and diminishes the choice for would-be tenants."

Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said he was concerned about the cost of rental properties in the area, despite the council offering the lowest rates of all Northern Rivers councils.

Cr Wright said he was aware of a number of families who had packed up and moved from Ballina due to unaffordable rents.

"At the moment rents are through the roof, and it's not going to get any better," he said.

The council has been releasing land to ease the pressure, with about 3000 blocks across the shire going on the market soon.

But as for affordable housing, there's nothing in the works, according to Cr Wright.

Meanwhile, mother of two and Lismore local, Nicole Payne, has been forced to relocate to Ipswich in Queensland, priced out of the area.

"I had to move my kids away from their family and friends," she said.

"I didn't really have a choice, otherwise I would be homeless with two kids and a dog.

"I want to move back home because I have no family support here but I can't afford to live in my home town."


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