Australian coastal towns

Rental vacancy rates hit zero in Australian coastal towns as they hit COVID capacity

PHOTO: Locals feel they’re being pushed out of the property market on Victoria’s Surf Coast.(ABC News: Emilia Terzon)

The pandemic has brought on a property boom for surf towns as cashed-up city dwellers make a sea change. But while that is great for homeowners selling at high prices, it has created a nightmare for some renters.

Data supplied to ABC News by CoreLogic shows just how slim the availability of rental homes has become in several key coastal regions, including Byron Bay, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.

Demand has risen so far beyond supply that there is almost nothing sitting empty for potential renters.

Victoria’s Surf Coast is the most impacted and has an official rental vacancy rate of zero.

The strip of coast an hour from Melbourne includes popular surf towns Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea.

Its rental market is always tight during the summer months as people flock to the beach.

But local real estate agent Simon Bogdanov said in the last four months there had been a “staggering increase in property demand” from Melbourne residents making a COVID sea change.

“The incoming enquiry level and applications from prospective tenants wanting to make the sea change has been overwhelming at times for our rental team,” Mr Bogdanov said.

“Rentals are being snapped up in a matter of hours from being advertised.