As opinion differs on the strength of the Brisbane rental market, particularly its inner city areas, the rest of Queensland is home to a range of different conditions.

Figures released last week by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) have revealed that vacancy rates in the Sunshine state outside of Brisbane across the March quarter vary from below 1% to well into double figures.

According to the REIQ, the state’s lowest vacancy rate is in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, with just 0.9% of the region’s rental properties without a tenant.

REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said rental markets across the state’s south east corner are performing well.

“The Gold Coast vacancy rates have been operating at less than 2.5% for more than two years and this is clear evidence that there is continuing strong rental demand,” Mercorella said.

“The Sunshine Coast has had tight conditions for more than four years and rental accommodation can be very challenging to find – this area could support new dwelling construction,” she said.

The Gold Coast (1.5%), the Sunshine Coast (1.5%), Ipswich (1.8%), Caboolture (1.6%), Caloundra (1.2%) and Noosa (1.4%) all currently boast vacancy rates below 2%, meaning they meet the REIQ’s very tight rental market criteria.

Outside the south-east corner, Cairns has performed strongly over the three-month period, with its vacancy rate falling from 2.5% to 2.1%

“The Cairns property market is showing signs of consistent, solid improvement and this is a reflection of the broader economy which has rebounded well from the post-GFC woes,” Mercorella said.

“There are some great signs of recovery in Cairns, including significant levels of development already taking place.”  

The state’s worst vacancy rate is in Gladstone and Mercorella said conditions there are far from ideal.

“Gladstone has pushed out to 11.3 %, the highest in the state, and this is concerning,” she said.

“The closure of the LNG project continues to have an impact as workers leave in search of jobs elsewhere.”

In Bundaberg the vacancy rate eased from 3.9% to 5.2% over the quarter, while in Rockhampton it has also eased slightly from 6.1% to 6.9%.

Mackay’s vacancy rate has tightened from 9.3% to 8.1%, while Townsville tightened marginally from 6.4% to 6.0%.