It has not been uncommon to see upwards of 50 people competing for properties in the city, inner-west, eastern suburbs and the lower North Shore. Occasionally that figure surpasses 100. There are so few places available that applications are being thrust into agents' hands even when people are dissatisfied with the property on offer. Bidding wars are frequently bumping up asking prices, and keen home hunters are giving three to six months' rent in advance.
The President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, Steve Martin, said the vacancy rate in Sydney last month was 1.2 per cent, the lowest January figure in at least five years.
"People are literally lining up to inspect rental accommodation," Mr Martin said. "And subsequently what's happening is they are looking at the competition they've got and they are filling out application forms and offering in excess of what the asking rental is just to secure rental accommodation."
The lack of properties is putting the squeeze on potential tenants, literally, with agents forced to separate interested parties into groups so they can fit into small, inner-city apartments. Viewing times are also being extended to cope with the huge demand.
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Contact: Michael Marquette
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