HOUSE OVER HOTEL: (Right) Rhett Hackett from Hazell Bros with workmates (from left) Michael Hay, Sergio Marquez, John Bates and Corey Bell at his rental unit in Torquay.
HOUSE OVER HOTEL: (Right) Rhett Hackett from Hazell Bros with workmates (from left) Michael Hay, Sergio Marquez, John Bates and Corey Bell at his rental unit in Torquay. Alistair Brightman

Economic boost in tight Coast vacancy

RENTAL vacancy rates across the Fraser Coast continue to be among the lowest in Queensland.

Last quarter in June the Real Estate Institute of Queensland revealed the region's vacancy rate was sitting under one per cent, however it had jumped to 1.4 per cent in the latest figures for September.

REIQ local spokesman Damian Raxach said despite the slight increase the coast was well within tight market ratio of less than two per cent.

"We have the lowest vacancy rate out of Queensland's tourism centres and the second lowest of the state's regional centres sitting just behind Mackay,” he told the Chronicle.

"Normally this is what we see when more people are employed and more jobs are available but the region's unemployment rate hasn't dropped.”

REIQ's report stated steady rents were boosting the local rental market as well-priced rental properties found a tenant in less than a week, on average.

"According to local property managers, the house rental market is in high demand, attracting higher demand from tenants and supporting the low level of regional vacancies,” the report said.

Contributing to the current real estate market, albeit not to a significant per cent, are companies renting out homes for their out-of-town supervisors instead of motels for the duration of projects.

Hazell Bros, a construction company working on a large intersection upgrade at Dundowran, employs 90 per cent local staff but rents houses for supervisors.

Project manager Corey Bell said the current project, forecast to be completed before Christmas, will be the third in a two-year period.

"A key component of Hazell Bros' strategy is to employ local staff and use local contractors in the areas where we do business,” he said.

Mr Bell said Hazell Bros staff worked a standard five-day week and the company used a combination of local motels/hotels and long-term rentals.

"At present the company has three long-term rental properties with local agents in Hervey Bay and accounts set up with two local motels for staff who intermittently visit the area,” he said.

"We like to use long-term rentals for staff where possible as it allows them to set up a base in the area and assimilate into the local community.

"Our staff are always very quick to become part of the community, with some having memberships at local gyms and golf courses.”

Mr Bell said having a "home base” certainly gave staff the option of staying in the region at weekends.

"There is a lot to do in the area so we do find our staff become part of the community and get their families up to visit them.

"A few of our staff have memberships with local gyms in the area. One is a keen golfer and frequents the local courses and even does lessons locally.

"A staff favourite for after work team meetups is the Bayswater Bar and Grill.”