REAL ESTATE: Why does Yamba have so many rentals?
YAMBA is still the best place to find a rental property in the Clarence Valley, though many may be unaffordable for locals in the Clarence Valley.
According to data released for March by SQM research, the Yamba postcode has 93 rental vacancies, or a total of 7.8%, well ahead of Maclean at 5.3% and Grafton which shows 1.3% or just 46 properties available.
Yamba's rental vacancies have maintained a steady seasonal trend since an almost doubling of vacancy in October 2016.
Principal of Elders Real Estate Yamba, Vikki Seekamp, said this was due to many properties converting from holiday to permanent when current infrastructure work in the area began.
"A lot of investors also began buying property in preparation for the demand that would be there," she said.
"The main cause of the high vacancies at the moment I'm told is that many of the companies are at the end of their contracts and are waiting for new tenders to be released and allocated.
"Once that happens, the word is that there will be another influx to come."
Ms Seekamp said that there may be a softening in asking price in the short term as vacancies increase, but noticed that rents, which according to data had increased by almost 50% over the past three years, had stabilised over the past few months.
"Anything that's above $550 a month has slowed... but they are just waiting. There is a lot more to come."
Ms Seekamp said that Yamba was still a market for the high-end, and said that the lower vacancies in Maclean and Grafton were reflective of many people not being able to afford the rents in Yamba.
"It's definitely the higher end of the market. I don't have anything at the moment under $400, and the people who can't afford here will go to Grafton and Maclean," she said.
And while Ms Seekamp said she was confident of a bounce back in the rental market in the short term, there were concerns about the affordability of the market once the higher-end work disappeared from the area.
"I think the rentals will sort themselves out, but there will come a time that locals just won't be able to afford to rent in Yamba. We just don't have the income level to support the current prices of rent," she said.
"People are also sitting on their properties at the moment; whether that's nervousness from the Sydney market or people just not wanting to move around but there are not a lot of people listing properties."
The full statistics are available at sqmresearch.com.au.