IT IS now harder to secure a rental property on the Northern Rivers than in inner Sydney.
The persistent shortage of rental accommodation gripping the Northern Rivers is showing no signs of going away with vacancy rates in April sitting at a tiny 1.1%.
Real Estate Institute of NSW president John Cunningham said it was about the "desirability" factor.
"I think a lot of it comes down to lifestyle," he said.
"There is a lot of people moving there from the Sydney area but also from the Gold Coast we understand."
Mr Cunningham said there had been good infrastructure development in recent years which brought more jobs to the area and new residents.
"There is just not enough availability, we know from anecdotal evidence there is a lot of competition
"Therefore rents are constantly going up... but there is clearly not enough supply to meet that demand. Supply is the key issue."
What's good news for investors can be an agonising experience for those looking for a place to live.
Property manager at Wal Murray First National Lismore, Sue De La Mare-Mitchell, said there was a lot of disappointment among people who consistently missed out on rental properties.
"It's not necessarily because there is anything wrong with their application," Ms Mitchell said.
She said the market was very competitive, with up to 60 groups inspecting properties on rare occasions.
Mrs Mitchell said it was particularly difficult for first time renters with no references, who lost out to those with a longer-term rental history.
Ray White Lismore principal Chris Harley said Lismore had always had a "very strong" market.
"We've always had pretty low vacancy rates in my life in real estate," he said.
He said it was a lovely place to live, and rents were still affordable unlike some coastal areas.
"That just continues to filter people to Lismore where there is employment and a larger amount of services," he said.
He said there would be anywhere from six to 10 applications on most rental properties.
McGrath Estate Agents Ballina leasing agent Sacha Wilson said the weekly vacancy rates at the agency fluctuated between a tiny 0.2% and below.
Ms Wilson said pet-friendly properties were extremely popular. The hardest time to find a property was in the December, with new arrivals getting set up for school year and new jobs.