The incoming Labor Government must prioritise the current rental property crisis, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).

PIPA chair Nicola McDougall said the supply of rental properties is at record lows around the nation, with the situation set to worsen due to softer market conditions and rising interest rates.

“Investors have been mostly missing from the property market since well before the last Federal Election, predominantly due to nationwide investment lending restrictions, but also because of the political posturing on negative gearing during the last election campaign,” Ms McDougall said.

“Investor activity only returned to historical averages in March this year, which means they have not been significantly adding to rental supply for the best part of five years.

“With markets cooling and interest rates rising it is likely that investors will retreat from the market once more, which will further exacerbate the financial pain that tenants are experiencing.”

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According to SQM Research, the national vacancy rate hit just 1.1 per cent in April, with only about 40,000 vacant rental properties around the nation. In May 2019, the vacancy rate was 2.2 per cent, with about 75,000 vacant properties available at the time.

“This data shows that there are about 35,000 fewer vacant rental properties now than there was three years ago, which clearly highlights the current rental crisis,” Ms McDougall said.

“The commonly accepted equilibrium point of a balanced rental market is a vacancy rate of three per cent, with many markets around the nation recording rates of below even one per cent.”

According to SQM Research, the vacancy rate in Adelaide and Hobart was just 0.4 per cent in April, with Brisbane and Perth recording 0.7 per cent.

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