A torrent of furnished rental properties is flooding into Hobart and Tasmania’s property market.
But few fit the criteria for affordability.
New data from realestate.com.au shows Australia’s largest listings increase in furnished homes to rent was recorded in Tasmania.
The data revealed a 536 per cent increase when comparing the number of listings available between March 6-12 and March 20-26.
Tasmania’s increase was also nation-leading when comparing furnished rental listings in the three weeks between March 13-19 and March 20-26 (a 170 per cent increase).
Hobart posted similarly large results with a 362 per cent increase when comparing week to week.
A statewide search on the website for furnished rentals on Tuesday delivered over 370 results ranging from a basic room in a West Coast mining town for $90 a week through to a $1500-a-week penthouse on the waterfront in Hobart.
There were 165 available in greater Hobart but only 25 of them were priced under $400 a week. The vast majority would be unsuitable for a family as they were single-bedroom rentals.
Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au chief economist, who is closely monitoring the effect of COVID-19 on the property market, said it was clear the rental segment had been hit first.
She said there had been a spike in fully furnished properties available for rent nationwide suggesting short-stay hosts were now seeking long-term tenants.
“We are starting to see an increase in rental listings on realestate.com.au, partly because a lot of short-term rentals appear to be transitioning to long-term,” she said.
“Tasmania has seen the biggest increase in furnished rental listings, but we’ve also seen an increase in search activity suggesting these changes to the market may help the rental crisis Tasmania was facing before the pandemic.”
Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Mandy Welling described the 536 per cent surge as a “phenomenal” figure.
Mrs Welling said she was confident that tenants still seeking long-term rentals would assume these furnished listings are short-term and would “shy away from them”.
“As an industry, however, we are grateful for any form of rental to come online to assist with the shortage of rental accommodation in the state,” she said.
“However, no one would be surprised by the increase and movement of short-term rentals and Airbnbs into this space.”
Mrs Welling said demand for furnished properties comes mainly from tourism or short-term work placements.
She said with fewer people moving around the country, these properties will be a tougher sell.
“If I were one of these owners who had trouble letting their property, my biggest concern would be insurance,” she said.
“After a certain period of time an insurance company will not cover an unoccupied home — that’s frightening.
“A single-bedroom home is about as tough to let as it is to sell in a tricky market. For those owners, I hope their properties can be occupied.”
Meanwhile, flatmates.com.au executive manager Steve Caddy said the site had experienced a large influx of new members offering share house accommodation.
He said many of these new properties were originally holiday rentals that have entered the long-term marketplace.
“We’ve seen a number of new members renting out their spare rooms as an additional revenue stream during these unprecedented times,” he said.
Furnished listings on realestate.com.au:
Variance to last week (13-19 March to 20-26 March)
Variance to previous week (6-12 March to 20-26 March)
TAS 170% a week, 536% three-week period
ACT 111%, 533%
SA 44%, 345%
QLD 81%, 175%
NSW 55%, 170%
VIC 22%, 130%
WA 38%, 57%
NT 24%, -10%