Competing with new apartments: insights for Brisbane landlords
With the huge supply of new apartments under construction in our inner city, many Brisbane landlords are daunted by this surge in competition. How can you compete for tenants when those shiny fresh towers are offering up new rental homes in big numbers? And your investment property no longer has that new carpet smell?! Our property managers have just completed a major tenant survey and it offers some helpful insights:
More than 400 tenants returned our bi-annual survey, telling us the features in an inner-Brisbane home they’ll pay more to have. Ranking them in importance and telling us how they chose their location. And what features they won’t pay more to have. This regular survey is one of the largest ever undertaken of inner-Brisbane tenants, and since we’ve been doing them since 2000 we’re able to trend-watch, looking back at the last 17 years to help landlords spot key changes. And it’s clear in the findings – new apartments don’t always tick all the house-hunting boxes for a tenant.
Two-thirds of tenants will pay a maximum of just $25 per week for a new home, relative to a similar, established rental. Finding a place that’s in good condition is important to them (so landlords can’t let the carpet wear through and the paintwork does have to be refreshed regularly), but renting is not like car-buying and there’s no major premium for new. On a list of 20 features “a modern home” ranked just 9th, down from 2nd spot in 2011.
Outdoor living spaces have consistently been near the top of tenants’ wishlists, ranking 2nd for the past 6 years. And what have many developers compromised with their new designs? Lots of them have made apartment balconies smaller, with off-plan buyers commonly focused on internal areas. Even back in 2000 our survey showed 86% of tenants thought their home’s outdoor spaces were important – this is not a new trend! So if there’s an opportunity to enhance the decks, terraces or balconies of your rental property it’ll always help raise your appeal.
Carparking has topped our survey in both 2015 and 2017 but new apartment projects continue to limit spaces available. This shouldn’t surprise: the new Census data says 87% of inner-Brisbane households have cars and on average there’s 1.5 cars for each of them! There is a market for city apartments without carparking, but it’s small. Is your car spot secure? Got extras for visitors? These are “ad-worthy” features when your property manager promotes the home.
And one negative feature many new apartments can’t easily avoid – they’re in neighbourhoods where construction noise can be constant and highly annoying. The surrounding rush of new buildings can result in early morning workers and cement trucks driving tenants away. Owners have to put up with it but tenants will just move.
For Brisbane’s tenants new is not always better. They’re a much more discerning audience and, with the right offering, you can beat new apartments to a tenant and even earn a better rent.
Like more info on what tenants really want and are prepared to pay more to have? Our team has a full report on this year’s tenant survey – just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Brisbane Property Managers on 07 32146899 for your copy.