Bushfires may intensify housing shortage

Date: 9 Jan 20

Thursday 9th January
REIV President Leah Calnan says that the bushfire crisis is likely to further impact the already tough housing market in regional Victoria.

Fierce fires continue to ravage Eastern Victoria, with over 75,000 private dwellings* under threat, locals will soon return to their homes and try and rebuild their lives.

With many homes impacted, a lot of bushfire affected residents will be turning to rental homes while their homes are rebuilt, a process that will be made harder given the lack of rental homes already available in this region.

Housing was already limited in this region, with East Gippsland and Wellington Shire having a rental vacancy rate of just 0.9%, Latrobe Valley on 1.3%, the Wodonga region on 1.7% and the Goulbourn Valley on 2.5%.

REIV President Leah Calnan said more rental homes are urgently needed.

“Bushfire affected families will be turning to the rental market while they rebuild, they face a tough search given the lack of rental properties across the region.” Ms Calnan said.

“This is a beautiful area with many holiday homes, and we are calling on holiday home owners in this region to consider putting your home on the rental market to help with the shortfall of rental housing and help these families find a new home.”

“It can take months if not years for a family to rebuild their home, those looking to stay in the community will be searching for rental properties, we need owners of vacant properties in this region to consider renting it out.”

“Sadly, these markets are already struggling for rental homes, so any extra homes would be greatly appreciated.”

“Investors and holiday home owners are not necessarily from this area, they could be from Melbourne or across Victoria, we are calling on them to put their properties on the market and help a bush affected family put a roof over their heads.

“After surviving a bushfire, the last thing you want to be doing is taking on a long drawn out search for a rental home.”

“Extra rental homes will allow these people to stay in the communities they love.”

“Given the strong demand for rental home, properties will be leased at a rapid pace, reducing the stress for landlords.”

Regional Victorian Vacancy rates (%)
  Dec Nov Sep Dec Nov
REGIONAL 2019 2019 2019 2018 2018
SHEPPARTON & GOULBURN 2.5 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.6
WODONGA & OVENS-MURRAY 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.2 1.2
REGIONAL VICTORIA TOTAL 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.2 1.3
Disaster Areas *
Shire All Private Dwellings Occupied Private Dwellings Occupied Private Dwellings
Own Own% Rent Rent%
East Gippsland Shire 24,086 17,567 12,815 72.90% 3,959 22.50%
Wellington Shire 22,187 16,090 11,749 73.00% 3,739 23.20%
Wangaratta Shire 13,036 10,971 7,962 72.50% 2,528 23.00%
Alpine Shire 7,188 4,830 3,582 74.20% 1,047 21.70%
Mansfield Shire 5,919 3,201 2,400 74.70% 623 19.40%
Towong Shire 3,091 2,335 1,775 76.10% 444 19.00%
Totals (excluding Mt Buller & Mt Hotham) 75,507 54,994 40,283 73% 12,340 22%
Occupied Private Dwelling: An occupied private dwelling is a private dwelling occupied by one or more people. A private dwelling is most often a house or flat. It can also be a caravan, houseboat, tent, or a house attached to an office, or rooms above a shop.
Unoccupied Private Dwellings: These are structures built specifically for living purposes which are habitable, but unoccupied on Census night. Vacant houses, holiday homes, huts and cabins (other than seasonal workers' quarters) are counted as unoccupied private dwellings. Also included are newly completed dwellings not yet occupied, dwellings which are vacant because they are due for demolition or repair, and dwellings to let.
*Data sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census
Media contact: Andrew Kilmartin – 0418 395 346