Recent REIQ vacancy rate data for the month of September has revealed that the property market in Queensland is operating with two distinct trends.

These include tight rates among areas in the southeast corner and steady but weaker rates in the regions.

The market for rental properties from Gympie south to the Gold Coast and west to Toowoomba are overall at near record low levels. Indeed, some parts of the Sunshine Coast, according to the data, have posted less than 1% vacancy.

Demand was rising in these parts with little inventory available, said Antonia Mercorella, CEO of REIQ. The market was very tight, she added, especially in Caloundra and Noosa. Both areas registered the lowest vacancy rates in the state: 0.9%.

“We’re seeing strong demand for rental properties in these areas and while a small level of this demand is seasonal, it does mean good news for investors who have certainty around finding tenants for their properties,” she stated.

On the other hand, Brisbane continued its long-term trend and posted a respectable vacancy rate of 2.8%.

“We continue to see strong demand for dwellings in the Brisbane market and despite some commentators who suggest that we are facing a glut the data tells a different story,” Mercorella commented.

Mercorella noted that new apartments in Brisbane are very popular with both investors and owner-occupiers, but the area’s vacancy rates softened marginally, from 3.0% to 3.3%. She then mentioned that local agents have resorted to offering rental incentives to secure tenants.

She also underlined how the area’s supply affected rental pricing, but was keen to recognise consumer demand.

“Asking rental prices are also said to be softening in response to the level of supply, however it is evident that the tenant demand is still there.”

The Gold Coast’s vacancy rate dropped from 2.3% to 1.7%, while the greater Sunshine Coast dropped from 1.6% to 1.3%.

The Fraser Coast slightly fell from 3.8% to 3.7%, reflecting a healthier investor market.

Toowoomba’s vacancy rate dipped from 3.1% to 2.7%, indicating the region’s strength.

Meanwhile, Gladstone’s rate increased from 5.2% to 7.1%, and Mercorella said that despite the market experiencing some difficulty, its planned new infrastructure could usher in recovery later on.

Up north, Rockhampton improved from 6.0% to 4.5%, Mackay held steady at 9.1%, Townsville was up from 5.3% to 5.6% and Cairns dropped from 2.7% to 2.6%.

Mercorella remains positive about Queensland’s market, which she believes is in a “relatively good position” compared to other states.

“The southeast corner is driving growth and this will eventually cascade throughout the rest of the state,” she said.