Virtual surge: Qld renters signing up properties sight unseen

Qld’s tightest rental market on record has triggered renters to take on properties sight unseen to secure them, as a shock report warns of a strong uptick in interstate and international demand.

Property managers are reporting some tenants are now signing off on rental contracts for properties they are yet to step into, with the latest Little Hinges report on digital inspections finding one in five Qld rental inspections were now coming from interstate.

Little Hinges CMO Mike York said there seemed to be little relief in sight for Queensland tenants given current demand and low stock levels.

“Given the extremely competitive nature of the rental market at present, renters are looking for any advantage. Many are willing to accept a property sight unseen based on a virtual inspection, allowing them to act much more quickly when the right property becomes available.”

He said the number of homes listed for rent in capital cities was at a record low, and the vacancy rate was still tighter than it had ever been.

Little Hinges data for January 2023 found interstate inspections made up 28.3 per cent of Gold Coast activity, with 9.9 per cent international. It was about one in four on the Sunshine Coast (24.7 per cent) from interstate and 17.7 per cent in Brisbane.

“We’re seeing all of that reflected in our data, which shows that renters are flocking to the Sunshine and Gold Coasts over the major capital cities due to a lack of availability and high rent.”

Harcourts Solutions property management director Jodie Stainton said rental applications were still rising, along with those who were willing to sign a contract for a property sight unseen.

“We’re now accepting tenants who have viewed properties only via a digital inspection.”

Rent all across Brisbane’s inner city have begun to climb as tenants return to zones close to the CBD.

“We’re continuing to see interstate and international interest on rental properties, particularly in Brisbane, and we’ve had to adapt to accommodate this influx.”

Perri Stetter moved to Brisbane from Melbourne post Covid-19, moving twice within the Queensland capital – and is very thankful to have been accepted into her current unit, even at $100 a week more than her first one.

“There were about 45 people for the first viewing and around the same for the second one so I was very doubtful that I would be accepted. I persisted, I gave as much info as possible over and above what was asked in the application … I was just persistent in keeping my application on their radar.”

Even so, she said “it was a bit of a higher power moment” when her application was accepted.

“The universe was on my side for this one,” Ms Stetter said. “I was thinking that I would be looking for months. I was one of the lucky ones.”

The one bedroom Toowong apartment cost $100 more a week than the first unit she had rented when she first arrived in Brisbane, a two bedder in Bulimba.

“I just had to bite the bullet. This is the way the market is. If you want to live in a nice place, you have to be prepared to pay a higher market fee.”

The steps she took to get her foot in the door included her mother guaranteeing her rental, all her referees responding as soon as required, a good rental history, asking the rental agency directly if they needed more information and offering to pay several months rent upfront if needed.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor

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