Renting in Lismore getting 'tough'
By Luke Prendergast and Hannah Ross
TARIQ NAVEED and his new wife, Komal Tariq, have been looking for a unit to rent in Lismore for nearly two months without success. It is not proving easy, even with Tariq's real estate industry contacts.
"It is very tough, really tough," he said after inspecting another property on Saturday.
"I don't know about shared accommodation, we are looking for a separate unit. There are no properties at the moment ? well, not many."
Tariq and Komal inspected a two-bedroom unit in South Lismore on Saturday. The rent is $145 per week, and more than a dozen people took advantage of an extremely brief open inspection to have a look through.
"It's a great unit, I love it," Tariq said. "But it is very tough these days. I find it really, really tough. Most people want to share and that's no good. I want to live with my family."
Which he is ? with his brother, until he and Komal can find a place of their own.
Friends Rebecca Malone, of Lismore, and Alison Goodwin, of Goonellabah, have just begun their search for a house to share together.
They were among the more than 20 people who inspected a three-bedroom Goonellabah house on Saturday.
"There's not much really to look at," Rebecca said. "You can't get anything decent for under $200 (per week).
"But we figure by July with uni students clearing out there will be more places available."
Property manager with Century 21 Ballina, Chris Hazlett, said figures released by the Real Estate Institute of NSW show how tight the rental market is.
Mr Hazlett said the institute's figures for May found of the 5462 rental properties surveyed in the Northern Rivers region, only 1.9 per cent, or 103 of these, had been without tenants at some point during the month.
A property manager with Wal Murray and Co Real Estate said renters had no problem finding a property if they were prepared to pay over $300 a week for it.
However, she said students, families and professional people were all vying for good quality rentals in the $150 to $200 per week bracket.
And competition can be stiff.
One Lismore rental open for inspection during the first weekend of June attracted 22 applicants, a number which was not unusual, she said.