Federal Politics


Growth in property stocks a plus for renters

ANYONE who has tried to look for a place to rent in Canberra in the past few years has experienced it.

Dozens of people turning up to inspect a house.

Rumours of prospective tenants offering more money than the advertised price.

Reports in this newspaper of ''slumlords'', given the label because of their practice of placing extreme numbers of tenants in the same house.

These are all symptoms of a rental market where agents and landlords hold much of the power.

There have been few signs of this abating.


Until now.

As reported elsewhere in this newspaper, there is apparently a greater proportion of properties on the rental market than at any time in the past 15 years.

Supply is finally starting to fight back against demand.

New apartment and housing developments are being built and homeowners are finding it more profitable to use properties as investments rather than selling them when they leave.

And new developments are proposed, as the story about a new dual-tower development at Belconnen demonstrates.

The towers are in the early stages of design and community consultation.

The coming months will reveal if there will be negative feedback about the buildings and their heights and location.

If approved, the development's 235 residential units will continue to ease pressure on renters.

If there is backlash, at least the plans for the buildings show there is enough health in the economy for these types of projects to be put forward, which generally adds more homes to the market, although it is not yet known at what income brackets the apartments will be aimed.

The increase in the number of homes available for rent, while negative for landlords, is positive for renters and demonstrates that efforts to increase development and increase supply are working.

Canberra renters moving into houses and units now should have more disposable income because they are not being charged as much by landlords. Even if this is a slight increase, it would make Canberra seem like a more welcoming place to live.

Some renters are now able to negotiate down their rents following inspections, according to reports.

To renters from past times, that must seem like a story from any other place but Canberra.