There are now almost as many advertised vacancies as there are unemployed and this comes at a time when Australia’s normally popular regional areas are experiencing housing shortages.
Ray White’s chief economist, Nerida Conisbee, said employers increasingly need to offer housing to attract employees.
“While finding people to fill positions is currently a problem, raising the permanent migration cap to 195,000 people will help,” she said.
Ms Conisbee said there are regional areas across Australia that are likely to face the greatest housing shortages.
She found that over the past 12 months there were areas where the unemployment rate had fallen sharply, with the unemployment rate hovering at three percent or less.
Rental growth was also more than 10 percent in some areas, indicating pressure on housing availability.
The Whitsundays has an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent and has more than halved over the past year.
“This job growth is leading to a significant increase in rent levels, with weekly advertised rents up 12.5 percent in one year,” Ms Conisbee said.
“The region is under pressure from two sources – tourism growth and the success of the mining industry.”
Bowen, the service center for coal exports, has seen an even sharper fall in its unemployment rate and stronger rental growth compared to the region, Ms Conisbee said.
Tourist destination Airlie Beach has experienced the same thing, but rental growth has been even stronger, she added.
Port Macquarie-Hastings, NSW
The unemployment rate has fallen from 6.2 percent to just 2.7 percent over the past year, while advertised weekly rents have risen by almost 20 percent.
“Unlike the Whitsundays, where the mining industry is a clear driver, Port Macquarie-Hastings’ economy is growing more mixed,” said Ms. Conisbee.
“It’s likely that population growth, and in particular immigration from more expensive Sydney, has played a role.
“More people create demand for homes and hospitals. As such, construction and healthcare are the largest employers in the region.”
The areas with the strongest rental growth are beachfront, with the tourist towns of Lake Cathie and North Haven recording rental growth of more than 20 percent.
“It’s likely that the housing shortage will be further exacerbated by more people buying vacation homes during the pandemic,” Ms Conisbee said.
This landlocked area of northeast Victoria includes the towns of Yarrawonga, Cobram and Numurkah.
There is no mining, but some tourism, although not the main engine of economic growth.
“It is likely that this area has seen such strong employment growth due to the strong agricultural conditions as well as the movement of population into the area,” Ms Conisbee said.
“While unemployment has more than halved over the past year, rents have risen by 13 percent and while Yarrawonga has seen the highest price increases, the small town of Nathalia has seen the largest increase in rents.”
Exmouth, Western Australia
While WA’s mining towns need accommodation provided by employers, Exmouth is a popular tourist area that has seen a rapid fall in unemployment and a rise in rent levels.
“However, it is probably similar to the Whitsundays in that there would likely be some benefit from mining-related wealth, for example holiday home purchases, as well as growth in tourism,” Ms Conisbee said.