Busselton residents are feeling the squeeze after rental prices increased by 6.7 per cent in the past year, with reports some families are being forced to live in tents.
The median weekly rent in the Busselton urban area was $320 for the September quarter and the yearly increase was only behind Perth, which rose by a huge 13.9 per cent, and mining towns.
Professionals Busselton property manager Deb Hallyburton said she noticed prices had “definitely gone up” in the area, particularly in the last three months.
“A lot of it’s to do with supply and demand. This is probably the worst summer I’ve seen in three to four years, I don’t know why that is,” she said.
Mrs Hallyburton said there were less properties available than usual, which led to between 10 and 15 people applying for one $300 rental.
Harcourts asset property manager Liz Clark also attributed the price increases to supply and demand.
“There’s a lot of people coming down from Perth, it seems to be connected to the airport,” she said.
Another individual factor for us is owners who have investment properties are moving back into them.”
Mrs Clark said she had more than 20 people at some viewings and had seen people in tears who could not find an affordable property.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure in Busselton to increase prices because even in Bunbury it is a lot higher- …People moving from Perth are willing to pay those prices,” she said.
Busselton resident Kerry Lanzini said she and her partner, who both work full time, had struggled to find a suitable rental after looking for two straight months, and eventually had to settle on a unit.
“Because the airport’s open they think we’re all FIFO workers. The majority of people in this town are young couples and the elderly and we just can’t afford it,” she said.
“I know there’s a lot of people out there who are a few weeks away (from being homeless) and they have nowhere to go. I know a single mother who bought a tent and is going to live in a caravan park until they kick her out over Christmas.”
Several young families also told the Times they had trouble being approved for properties, with one couple having more than 100 applications rejected in a year, but Mrs Hallyburton said this was usually due to poor references.