Rental prices deflate in mining towns

THE rental prices of mining and resources-rich parts of Central Queensland are deflating, inviting back those forced out of town by the high costs.

The most dramatic rental shifts shown by figures from Australian Property Monitors were in Gladstone, Mackay and in the coalfields region of Isaac where the average weekly rent for a house fell by more than $100 in 12 months..

Renting a home in the coalfields near Moranbah cost an average of $600 a week at the end of 2012, it is now closer to $400 a week.

In Gladstone, median rents fell 23% from $572 to $440, a figure high enough to match median rents demanded on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, but a long way from the previous highs facing renters.

In Mackay, rents in the past year fell 19.2% from $520 a week to $420 a week.

As of December, the cost of renting a house in Gladstone, Isaac and Mackay was more expensive than Melbourne's average rent of $375 a week or Brisbane's average rent of $400 a week.

South of the border in Byron Bay, the rent is now $500, more expensive even then renting a house in Sydney.

APM senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson said the fall of rentals in Queensland boom towns was "the hangover after the party" as the resources industry began to cool.

"The prices did get a little over-inflated in the mining areas," he said.

"It was inflated by over-investment by non-local investors.

"We see quite a steep decline in rents over 18 months as (rents) have adjusted backwards.

"It's not good news for those who came in late and paid between $500,000 and $700,000 for investment properties."

Dr Wilson said as rents went up, people relocated further away from work because it was cheaper to travel the extra distance.

With rents now falling, some will return so they can spend less time commuting.

"One of the things that has driven this is the high cost of accommodation in Mackay and Gladstone," he said.

"It's the balancing act that will bring residents back."

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FACTBOX:

AVERAGE house rent per week in your town in Dec 2013 and (Dec 2012)...

QLD:

-Bundaberg: $300 ($290) 3.4%

-Fraser Coast: $300 ($290) 3.4%

-Gladstone: $440 ($572.5) -23.1%

-Gold Coast: $440 ($425) 3.5%

-Gympie: $270 ($270) 0%

-Ipswich: $320 ($320) 0%

-Isaac: $400 ($600) -33.3%

-Mackay: $420 ($520) -19.2%

-Rockhampton: $350 ($380) -7.9%

-Sunshine Coast: $440 ($420) +4.8%

-Toowoomba: $330 ($315) +4.8%...

NSW:

-Byron: $550 ($485) +13.4%

-Lismore: $320 ($310) +3.2%

-Coffs Harbour: $370 ($360) +2.8%


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