Rentals remain in high demand

HIGH DEMAND: Gebhardts Real Estate property manager Sharyn Ferguson says rentals remain in high demand for residents across the Limestone Coast.

Charlotte Varcoe

PROSPECTIVE tenants are offering to pay above the listed price for rental properties across Mount Gambier in a bid to secure a roof over their head.

A rental shortage in the South East has people searching for a place to rent sometimes up against 100 others applying for the same property.

Gebhardts Real Estate property manager Sharyn Ferguson said although applicants were offering above the listed price, it was ultimately up to the landlord as to who to accept as a tenant for their properties.

“We can submit applications to the landlords but at the end of the day it is totally up to them whether they accept it or not,” Ms Ferguson said.

“At the moment there is a huge demand for rentals and not enough properties out there available for people.”

The property manager said earlier this week was the first time in a while where no rental properties were listed.

“We ended up having one unit listed not long afterwards and within 24 hours there were up to 30 applicants.”

Ms Ferguson said the shortage was caused by people moving out of the city and into the region to escape the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are also people investing in properties here who live as far away as Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria,” she said.

“They are buying here locally and then leasing them out but it is still not enough in comparison to the demand we are seeing.”

People were also applying for houses which they would not be able to afford in a desperate attempt to have a roof over their heads.

“People are doing this because they are just applying for anything that comes up and not realising whether they can actually afford it or not,” Ms Ferguson said.

“We also have a duty of care as well and we need to work within their income as to what they can afford.

“We cannot place them into a property they cannot afford, or if we think they would come into financial difficulties later down the track.

“It does make the decisions we make very difficult because we want to help people out but in some circumstances we just can’t.”

“This issue has been ongoing for a long period of time now and we simply cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel just yet and do not know if prices will drop or what will happen,” Ms Ferguson said.