The high cost of renting has shifted dramatically from south-east Queensland to regional mining towns, led by Roma, Gladstone and Mackay, according to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) annual report for 2011-12.
Median weekly rents for three-bedroom houses in Roma rose an astonishing $150 over the space of 12 months to June to a median of $500 per week – a rise of 40% – while two-bedroom unit rents increased by 35% to $350 per week.
Roma lies 515 kilometres west of Brisbane in the Darling Downs, the epicentre of the coal seam gas (CSG) boom, home to Origin Energy's Spring Gully Coal Seam Gas Development and the outer end point of the 434-kilometres Roma-to-Brisbane gas pipeline.
In the more widely known mining hotspot of Gladstone, median weekly rents for three-bedroom houses rose $120 (33%) over the past 12 months to a median of $500 and by $100 per week for two-bedroom units to a median of $400.
The report also found that weekly rents have risen by $70 per week in Mackay for houses ($460) and by $60 per week for Mackay units ($360) – annual increases of 18% and 20% respectively.
In comparison median weekly rents have hardly shifted in Brisbane and in other more heavily populated south-east Queensland locations including Ipswich, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.Click to enlarge
The figures are based on data gathered by the RTA for the year to June 30 as part of its rental bond custodial function combined with data from other official and industry sources.
The report notes that traditionally, the most expensive areas in terms of rents are in south east Queensland, "particularly areas of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast".
“However, areas which experienced the most significant rent increases for houses and flats were Gladstone, Roma and Mackay.
“Mount Isa also saw a significant increase in rents for houses. Most other areas experienced either smaller rent increases or no change.
“Significant increases in the regional areas are generally related to resource-driven activities,” says the RTA in its annual report.
The RTA is a regulatory body which monitors and reports on Queensland’s residential rental sector.
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Photograph of Roma courtesy of Flickr.