Days of double-digit rental yields in Australia are gone: Terry Ryder

Days of double-digit rental yields in Australia are gone: Terry Ryder
Days of double-digit rental yields in Australia are gone: Terry Ryder

The days of double-digit rental yields in Australia are gone. And it’s hard to see those times returning any day soon.

Up until about three years ago, Australians who were comfortable with risk, or perhaps oblivious to it, were buying in mining towns and resources-related regional centres, and commonly achieving initial gross rental returns of 10%, sometimes more.

But the same places are now likely to offer little better than 5%. Even though prices have fallen a lot in devastated mining centres, rents have fallen even more. Median rental yields, according to Domain, are now 4.8% in Newman, 5.8% in Port Hedland, 4.3% in Emerald and 3.1% in Moranbah. 

So where do you turn, now, for a better-than-average rental yield?

The best on offer that I can find are in Cairns in North Queensland. The median rental yields for apartments are generally 7% and above, more because prices tend to be low rather than because rents are high.

According to Domain figures, the median return for Cairns North, where over 200 apartments have sold in the past 12 months at a median price of $237,000, is 7.5%.

In downmarket Manoora, where 90 units have sold at a median price of $167,000, the median rental yield is 7.9%. And in Woree (median price $148,000), the median rental yield is 8.0%. That means a small unit selling for $150,000 and renting for $230 a week.

Houses around Cairns generally provide rental yields in the 5.5% to 6.0% range. 

It’s worth considering because Cairns presents a solid market at the moment - boosted by an improving economy, strong tourism and major spending on infrastructure. Some suburbs have recorded double-digit growth in median prices in the past 12 months.

The bottom line is that those Cairns yields are as you good as you will realistically find across Australia. There is nowhere I know about that offers double-digit yields anymore. And I mean genuine rental returns, not computer-generated statistical glitches.

If you read enough newspapers, magazines and online news services, you’re going to see lots of lists claiming that returns well above 10%, sometimes above 20%, are available.

Don’t believe these stories. They are statistical aberrations and credible median organisations wouldn’t publish them.

One of these lists published recently claimed there’s a place in Queensland where you can get rental yields of - wait for it - 58%. That’s so obviously absurd that it's amazing anyone published it, but print it they did.

Just pause for a moment and consider what’s being suggested here. A rental yield of 58%, apart from being an obvious error, means a property selling for $300,000 would fetch rent of $174,000 a year or $3,346 per week.

When I first saw it in an online real estate magazine, I thought it might be a typographical error. 

But no, I clicked on the town credited with this remarkable real estate achievement and there, sure enough, was a presentation of figures which showed how they arrived at this.

The town credited with a 58% median rental yield was Beaudesert, south of Brisbane and west of the Gold Coast.

Apparently, you can buy units in Beaudesert for $22,500. Yes, apartments for less than the price of a Jeep. And given that the median weekly rent for these remarkably cheap dwellings is $253 per week, rental yields are indeed 58.47% - according to the computer, at least, proving once again the validity of the old adage about “garbage in, garbage out”. 

Obviously someone has made a mistake. You can’t buy units for $22,500 in Beaudesert - or anywhere else in Australia. And, equally obviously, typical yields in the town are not 58.47%. 

But wouldn’t you think someone would take steps to correct these startling errors? Because they’re common. Mistakes of this kind are appearing weekly, if not daily, in real estate media.

In October I wrote about claims from the same source that you could commonly achieve 30% yields in Mission Beach – and other instances where it has been claimed that prices in tiny towns have risen 40-50% in 12 months.

The latest presentation of the top five locations in each state with the highest yields was a litany of these types of mistakes. It’s claimed there’s a location in NSW where typical yields are 28%, a tiny town in South Australia where you can commonly achieve 16% and a coastal hamlet in Tasmania where 15% returns are common. 

Many of the locations listed as having outstanding rental yields are basket-case markets with vacancies above 20%.

Others are coastal towns where high rents are achieved in peak holiday times and the computer assumes those peak rents are achieved 52 weeks of the year (when, in reality, the properties are vacant for much of the year), hence the ridiculously high yield figure.

If you choose to believe these figures, you’ll welcome to head off to Beaudesert, Mission Beach or wherever and see if you can find a property where the rental yield is even as high as 6%.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

 

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Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

Tags: 
Rental Yield Property market

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