Rental vacancy rates are skyrocketing in Moranbah.
Rental vacancy rates are skyrocketing in Moranbah. Brett Wortman

Moranbah investors struggle as rental vacancies skyrocket

INVESTORS are struggling in Moranbah as rental vacancy rates skyrocket and mining companies turn to fly-in, fly-out workforces.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland Mackay chairwoman Sally Richards said while she wasn't aware of exactly how many Moranbah properties were currently sitting empty, she had been told there could be at least 500 vacant units and homes.

Ms Richards said properties that were rented at $3000 a week during the mining boom were now struggling to be leased at $400 a week.

"Of course, I think it was a matter of prices that couldn't be sustained because they were so high there, and there had to be a correction in the market place," she said.

"Unfortunately the market is what it is out there."

Ms Richards said investors who purchased properties during the boom could struggle to pay their loans with repayments based on a time when rents were higher.

The State Government's approval of a 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce and accommodation village near Moranbah for BMA's Caval Ridge mining project wouldn't help the struggling market, she said.

But LJ Hooker Moranbah and Mackay director Des Besanko said it wasn't all doom and gloom.

"We're actually finding, if our owners are up to negotiating, the main thing we're discussing is getting a tenant in and maintaining the cash flow," he said.

"Look, it is a tough market now. We're encouraging landlords to jump on any offers that come through."

He said LJ Hooker still received enquires every day for rental properties in the Moranbah market.

"There is going to be, unfortunately, some sad, bad stories out there... there was a bit of hype nationally and I think people who got caught up into that a bit will feel the pinch.

"You need to understand that you're competing against a lot of other stock... and what you're asking for rent is quite competitive."



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