The Hunter is facing a rental crisis, with record numbers vying for the same property, paying above asking price, and some even paying 12 months’ rent in advance.
The trend follows reports that national rental rates have risen 3.2% this year, 4.1% regionally, the largest quarterly increase in 14 years.
Newcastle-based One Agency Pinkerton Properties owner Annette Pinkerton says in order to be successful in their application, renters need to be prepared.
“When you have 100 people coming through each open home, and you have some of them offering more than $100 a week extra to secure the property, or six months in advance, yes I’d say this is a rental crisis,” she said.
“A lot of landlords are choosing to sell at the moment because it is currently a seller’s market, that means there are a lot of rentals coming on to the market to sell.”
Ms Pinkerton, who has worked in the real estate industry for 12 years, says the pandemic has had a significant impact on the market.
“When you see the applications come in [for properties] that’s when you get a very clear understanding of where people are coming from,” she said.
“During Covid we noticed people were looking for larger properties to rent because they were working from home.
“It’s more about prioritising a calmer lifestyle now.
“We’re also finding a lot of people coming back to Newcastle to be closer to family because that’s more important to them.
“They’re leaving the city for beach or lake-style living.
“Eleebana and Redhead are now the fastest growing and most popular suburbs of Newcastle at the moment.”
Here are Ms Pinkerton’s top tips for potential tenants:
Be prepared and know what you want
“You have to be ready,” Ms Pinkerton says.
“It’s like buying a house, and by that I mean you should have your pre-approval ready, you need to know what your budget is, you need to know where you want to be, how much you want to spend, and what you need in a property.
The speed at which things change in the real estate industry means Ms Pinkerton will match up tenants and homeowners at a rapid rate.
“I could get a phone call right now saying ‘Annette you’ve been referred to me, I have a property in Whitebridge and I’d like you to manage it’,” she said.
“If I have clients on my books that I know are looking for a rental in Whitebridge I can then join the dots.
“I’m a match-maker essentially.”
“Don’t wait to view a property before applying for tenancy,” Ms Pinkerton adds.
“If you can put in an application prior to seeing a property it can work in your favour.
“If people start applying online straight away, even before they get to the open inspection, it’s good for me because I can see all their information and start syphoning who’s going to rise to the top of the pile.
“In this day and age, one open home can generate 30 applications.
“We are seeing around 100 groups come through an open home, then one-third to one-half of them will put in an application.”
Leave No Gaps
Applicants must ensure all of their documentation is complete, Ms Pinkerton says.
“If I see applications that have holes in them, like missing 100-points of ID, previous landlords details missing, incorrect phone numbers, or errors in email addresses, I’ll worry if they can’t get those things right on an application, how are they going to communicate with me as a tenant?