Renee Cluff

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Cairns rental market flooded with former holiday homes

The number of rental properties in the Cairns real estate market has jumped by around 200 in less than a month, as traditional holiday lettings are made available to permanent residents.

Cancellations of holiday bookings due to the covid-19 pandemic have prompted holiday house and Airbnb owners to find long term tenants to replace their lost income.

Nicholas Slatyer from Belle Property Cairns has told Tropic Now it’s a phenomenon which is overturning what has been a long-term tight rental market in Cairns.

“We have for some time seen vacancy rates at under 2%,” he said.

“What we have seen in the past weeks is a en-mass cancelling of holiday bookings and we are fielding a lot of calls from owners of holiday properties.

“You can already see a flood of fully furnished apartments becoming available.”

According to figures from , the number of available rental properties has jumped from 677 to 861 between March 25th and the 16th April.

Mr Slatyer said up until a month ago, residential rental property in Cairns was a beacon of positivity in an otherwise relatively flat property market but the coronavirus economic downturn is now impacting both tenants and landlords.

“The combination of very little new development, organic population growth and a stable economy had seen weekly rents increase over the last five years,” he said.

“Cairns was starting to look like a good place to invest again.

“Depending on the severity of the downturn we are seeing at the moment, I expect that we will see the amount of long term residential property available for rent skyrocket.

“We are already fielding dozens of calls from tenants who have lost their jobs and we are working with the owners and tenants to do whatever we can to help people get through this tough situation.

“Unlike the GFC, everyone is affected and the universal level of empathy from property owners wanting to do the right thing is heartening.

“Whether or not there are tenants to be found, we will see.”