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NSW tertiary students feel the rental squeeze as vacancy rates fall
February 17, 2017
For thousands of students set to return to university by the end of February, tight vacancy rates are making the hunt for accommodation in Sydney and Newcastle even more urgent, according to leading real estate group, Raine & Horne.
“In suburbs close to the University of Sydney and University of Newcastle, there are slim pickings for students, with vacancy rates under 1% extremely common,” said Angus Raine, Executive Chairman of Raine & Horne.
“A combination of persistence, punctuality and presentation is critical if students are to find a rental home,” Mr Raine advised.
“There’s no escaping the fact you have to wear out some shoe leather and inspect as many rental homes as you can,” he said.
“Treat an inspection with a property manager like a job interview. This means smart casual attire and clean shoes, rather than shorts and thongs.
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take Mum or Dad along to inspections. It might sound cheesy, but it often works.
“Getting parents to countersign a lease agreement can also help, as this makes them jointly responsible for the lease, which will be a big tick with some property managers,” said Mr Raine.
Gerard Hill, Co-Principal of Raine & Horne Newtown, said the rental market in Sydney’s inner city remains tight, with vacancy rates well under 1%. The area is home to Sydney University, the University of Technology, and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA), a major teaching hospital.
“We currently have 14 properties out of 1500 available for rent, with as many as 30 groups at inspections,” said Mr Hill.
“In January, we had 2,519 tenant enquiries. We are expecting similar enquiry numbers, if not more, in February, as new and existing university students flood the rental market in suburbs closest to the universities, such as Newtown, Darlington, Erskinville and Enmore.”
In NSW’s second-largest city, Newcastle, vacancy rates within walking distance of the University of Newcastle in Callaghan are close to zero.
“We have seen an increase in students from Japan, China and Korea seeking rental accommodation close to the university,” said Mecca Powell, Student Accommodation Specialist, Raine & Horne Newcastle.
Raine & Horne Newcastle manages over 100 off-campus rooms in houses and apartments in suburbs bordering the University of Newcastle, such as Mayfield, Hamilton, Waratah, Waratah West and Birmingham Gardens.
“Accommodation near the university is being snapped up almost immediately, with some rooms being leased even before the previous tenant has vacated,” said Ms Powell.
Rooms in student share-house accommodation in Newcastle range from $160 to $230 a week. The weekly lease includes electricity, gas, internet and water.
“To be eligible for off-campus accommodation, tenants need a current student card, a letter of offer from the university or TAFE, and proof they have been accepted by the institution,” said Ms Powell.
Angus Raine’s tips to beat the rental squeeze in 2017
- Treat inspections with property managers like job interviews.
- Be punctual and present yourself professionally.
- For younger people, it helps if Mum or Dad is with you at appointments and/or they offer a rental guarantee.
- References from employers, university lecturers, school teachers, a family doctor or solicitor – and especially past property managers or landlords – are essential.
- Take along ID such as your driver’s licence or passport, and bank statements.
- If you’re offered a property, take it immediately or you could miss out.