Don't be put off by Perth's vacancy rate

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Despite the city’s residential rental vacancy rate hitting an almost six-year high, property investors in Perth shouldn’t be panicking.

Recent figures form the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) revealed Perth’s vacancy rate has climbed above 4.8% for the first time since September 2009, something that hasn’t come as a shock to Ryan Crawford, director of the Western Australian based Crawford Realty.

“It’s not really a surprise, we’ve seen an increase in vacancy rates across industrial and residential properties over the last nine months or so in response to the slowdown of the industrial sector,” Crawford said.

“The markets over here have been propped up pretty heavily in recent years by workers from the resource sector and as they’re moving on it’s natural that there’s a bit of a flow on to the Perth market.”

Rising vacancies have also served to knock down Perth’s weekly rents, but rather than panic, Crawford said landlords should be working to make their property attractive to renters.

“I don’t think there’s cause for alarm, but it is a good time for people to be having a look at what they’re doing and see if they should make any changes.

“Obviously the first thing is to meet the market in terms of the rent you’re asking, talk to your property manager and have a look online and assess what’s going on around you and see if you’re asking a realistic amount.

“It’s also a good time to have a look if there’s any low cost options you can take to make your property more attractive, for example if you own a unit maybe consider furnishing it.”

Crawford also believes potential investors shouldn’t be scared off Perth due the current conditions.

“If you look at the data from the last 30 days there are some promising signs the vacancy rate will drop,” he said.

“The over thing is even with the downturn in the resource sector, if you look at the median house prices here they’ve been pretty steady over the last few years.”

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