Looking for homes to rent in cairns

Looking for Homes to Rent in Cairns

Written by Jade Kilpatrick
Trying to secure a home to rent in Cairns in the current market is hard. The vacancy rate continues to drop and as of February 2021, it reached 1.2% (Source: Tropic Now), which is even lower than it was at the start of the pandemic. With more people opting to move to regional Queensland than ever before, and limited housing available, we are all too familiar with the disappointment and frustration those struggling to find a home or an apartment often experience.

As one of Cairns’ leading real estate agents, we are working hard to connect with more landlords to source more vacant properties, and we are pleased to be able to continually grow our lease options for new applicants. However, the reality is that demand is currently outstripping supply in some areas as well as for certain types of housing.

What is causing the Cairns rental shortage

There are several factors contributing to the current shortage of properties to rent in Cairns. There is no denying that the region’s location, climate and the relatively low number of COVID cases since the pandemic hit, is making Cairns a desirable place to live for many seeking to move away from the big cities. But the increase in owner-occupiers and first home buyers has also reduced the rental options available. The good news however, is that construction of new homes has also risen significantly year on year, so in the future, demand is likely to level off.

Since the 2015 Royal Banking Commission it has become increasingly difficult for investors to secure interest-only mortgages, which has led to a reduction in investors in the market. Stamp duty charged to overseas investors when they purchase a property is also making property investment in Australia appear less attractive. Although some pundits predict overseas investment will surge when the borders eventually open, I imagine that provides small comfort to those who are currently searching for a new home to move into right now.

With so much competition for rentals, we’ve put together some advice for new applicants to ensure you stand out for all the right reasons when you find the home you’re looking for.

Become a ‘stand out’ applicant

Be ready to submit an application

It sounds obvious, but applications with missing information, are harder to process and shortlist than those who have provided all the requested information. Therefore, having absolutely every single detail required for an application prior to even finding a home is important.
Get a copy of your rental references and rent receipts, ensure your income details are to hand and provide all the necessary personal identification documentation.

For more information on documents required for an application, you can visit the Queensland Government Website.

Be quick to book an inspection when you find a new listing you want to view

I know this is the biggest challenge, particularly when you have other commitments or a partner who likes to ponder over options for what feels likes days however, the key to finding a home is to act fast. You may need to pull in a few favours with your work colleagues and even convince your partner to drop everything, but the rewards are well worth it.

If your partner works away or isn’t available, ensuring you have an agreed list of requirements for your new family home will help remove any uncertainty. Having a good idea of what you need, be it open plan living, air conditioning throughout, security screens, or close to public transport or schools, will make your search focussed and rewarding.

Pets are a strength not a weakness

Something we hear regularly is that applicants with pets have fewer options or are overlooked for families without them. However, your pets should be seen as your secret advantage, and you should sell the benefits in your application. Research shows that tenants with pets hold longer leases. A US study confirms this, indicating that tenants with pets stayed an average of 23 – 46 months compared to just 15 – 18 months.

Most landlords with an eye on the bottom line will rarely knock back a solid application based on this factor alone.

Update your social media profiles

“Why on earth should I update my social media profile?” I can almost hear you shout. Well, the truth is, in a digital age, it is all too easy to research people and their online activities. Just like a job interview, some people will take to the internet to find out a bit more about the candidate. Ensure the information you submitted in your application matches what you list on your social media accounts, such as your place of employment and relationship status. It may be that your social presence is perfectly fine, but be aware that some internet stalking could take place.

If that creeps you out, then our advice would be to tweak your privacy settings to ensure you remain hidden for simple internet searches.

Follow the process

As tempting as it may be to offer an incentive or to ask a property manager to avoid contacting a reference; whatever the motive may be, these will raise red flags. Not that we experience this type of behaviour, but we do hear stories and we want our applicants to be in the best position possible.

Hang on in there

Whilst the current rental market is tough, it is not impossible. We have helped hundreds of new tenants in the last year find and secure their dream home. With new properties to rent entering the market all the time and with a record number of new homes being built in the region, you too are sure to find what you are looking for.

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