Sydney tenants flock to beaches as lockdown, remote work continues


If you dream of renting by the beach this summer, you’d better stand in line.

After an unusually heavy winter in some pockets, seaside suburbs are seeing a further surge in demand for tenants, agents report, as warmer weather approaches and Sydney’s lockdown continues.

Endless in view of remote work and beaches still off-limits to those who live more than five kilometers away, coastal residences are in great demand.

While early spring usually results in increased demand on northern beaches, it has been stronger than usual, said rental agent Abbey Robotham of Stone Real Estate Manly, adding that this comes after a unusually competitive winter.

“It’s definitely stronger, we bet on a property [last week] to Dee Why for a little more than what you usually put a property for, and we got almost 50 inquiries [overnight]”said Ms. Robotham.

Properties averaged between three and five tenant requests, while they can usually have one at this time of year, she said, with some tenants offering to pay as much as $ 50 more per year, she said. week if necessary to secure a property. Houses were scarce and were bought quickly when they hit the market.

Only 1.3% of rental homes on Northern Beaches were vacant last month, according to figures from the domain, compared to 2.6% across Sydney.

Demand for coastal rentals is increasing more than usual this spring.

“We see a lot of people coming from outside the area… people from the Hills district, the interior west, looking for a nice little waterfront,” Mr. Robotham said.

There had also been growing interest from sellers in Manly looking to take advantage of the area’s booming house prices and rents, she added.

Tenants favored space and proximity to the beach over access to public transportation, she said, adding that the one-bedroom apartment market was a bit more struggling than the two-bedroom one.

In the eastern suburbs, Shona Armstrong-Smith, director and property manager of Century 21 Bondi Junction, had seen more people move into rentals in the first two weeks of September than in the previous two months.

“We had double the number of people moved in as in August and July, and we’re back to where we were before the lockdown,” Armstrong-Smith said, adding that there would usually be a gradual increase. required.

The eastern suburbs recorded a vacancy rate of 2.4% in August, down from 3.7% the year before.

Bondi Beach neighborhoods
Remote working and ongoing restrictions have more and more tenants looking to live near the beach. Photo: Vaida Savickaite

Ms Armstrong-Smith said demand was consistently strongest for larger homes and apartments, with people looking for more space while working from home. Smaller units, especially in nearby suburbs like Potts Point, were more difficult to rent, with tenants always looking to negotiate lower prices.

While most of the tenants were from the area, some came from further afield, she added, noting that a recent tenant moved from an area of ​​concern for COVID-19 as they were tired of the tighter restrictions. and wanted to be near the coast for the summer.

Ray White, general manager of property management, Emily Sim, said the properties listed in their books on the eastern and northern beaches had seen no vacancies in the past year.

“People moved to these places last year because they were working from home, they were the first to embrace this, and it continues,” Ms. Sim said, noting that many thought they would work from home for next year, as they expected a slow return to the office after lockdown.

“Properties are occupied before they’re vacant… with a two-day window for maybe cleaning and gardening. “

Some tenants were offering slightly more money to secure properties, Ms Sim said, although Ray White had discouraged offers of rent.

The same trend was seen along the coast, due to demand from sea changers, she said.

About 1.3 percent of rentals in the Sutherland area were vacant in August. Photo: Vaida Savickaite

It was a similar story in the south of town, where Blake Mariner, director of business development for Highland Property Group, sees properties in the Sutherland Shire, particularly Cronulla, going fast. The group rented more than 100 units last month and the area’s vacancy rate stands at 1.3%.

“We’re still seeing an increase around this time, but there are properties that we rented six months ago that are now seeing rent increases of over $ 50 per week,” he said, noting that low inventory levels and high demand were pushing up prices.

“Things go so fast that if you don’t apply before you can see [a property], you sometimes miss. The owners are [getting] multiple applications, ”he said.

Mr Mariner was seeing demand outside the region more than ever, with tenants coming from the Midwest and Downtown areas looking for more affordable housing than they could find on the eastern or northern beaches of the city. He had also seen landlords in the western part of town renting their own rental properties along the coast.

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