Latest REIWA figures show renters hold the whip hand
WA renters are demanding landlords cut rents and buy new furniture to woo them as the number of properties on the market hits an all-time high.
Emboldened by a flood of new rental stock and WA’s slowing economy, agents say renters who would have queued for a property two years ago are now negotiating for a better deal or threatening to walk away.
Realmark Karratha director and agent Alex Waters said the market trend was evident among older Pilbara properties.
“There’s been a greater segmentation in the market where run-down properties and older properties ... they are struggling to rent,” he said.
“There’s definitely more pressure on landlords to actually put more money into their properties.”
Mr Waters said the post-boom economy had forced a mindset shift in Pilbara landlords who were previously receiving high rents for houses that were lacking maintenance.
“That was something that was probably so neglected up here as well because most of the owners were receiving such high rents without having to do anything,” he said.
“Even the worst properties were still receiving really high rent — it’s definitely been a mindset shift that landlords have had to take.”
Real Estate Institute of WA figures show the number of properties on the market has hit a record of almost 10,800, up from 8000 this time last year and 3000 three years ago.
REIWA president Hayden Groves said having 10,800 properties on the rental market was “unprecedented”. He said tenants had caught on and were bargaining for better deals, particularly if they saw apartments in their complex advertised for less than they were paying.
“As soon as their leases come up, they’re asking for a rent reduction and the smart landlords are taking it,” he said.
Mr Waters said with supply higher than demand, it was a “tenants’ market” but well presented and priced properties were not staying vacant for long.
“There’s definitely negotiation happening from the tenant’s perspective,” he said.
“It’s not a consistent thing across the market that every property is struggling to find a tenant, (it’s just) the properties that are either overpriced compared to everything else or need a lot of work.”
Pilbara real estate agents say landlords must be prepared to meet tenants’ needs now more than ever before.