Voice of Real Australia: A pandemic-powered property boom

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The pandemic has bought us many things - an appreciation of things we've taken for granted being high on the list.

That list, for those fortunate enough, might well include stable housing. For many the downside of the property boom across regional Australia is the fact investment properties are being sold under them.

Anecdotal tales of people offering inflated rents to simply secure a rental property litter Facebook while queues and a dearth of stock now seem to be the norm.

The plight of Nurelle Lucas, told by the Mandurah Mail in Western Australia, will ring bells of discomfort across the country.

Nurelle signed a lease six months ago but is now facing homelessness as the state's pandemic-induced moratorium on tenancy agreements inches closer.

For the single mum of two it is an understandably daunting prospect.

"It's just been a stressful, horrible, disappointing nightmare. There is a whole line of people to view one house and the rents have clearly gone up," Nurelle said.

"Every time you go to view a house, you hope you're going to get it but then you get a rejection letter or don't even get notified.

"Sometimes I even book the viewing and then suddenly get notified it's already been taken when it's only just become available."

And the stats underline the difficulties she faced. Rental vacancies in WA's Peel region have dwindled, with availability dropping from 394 to 93 in the last 12 months.

If that's not enough, the job of finding permanent accommodation in the NSW Central West has been made even more difficult by scammers.

A Facebook group in Dubbo intended to share information about rental opportunities has been hit by scammers keen to take advantage of the competitive rental environment.

The admins of the Facebook page have since changed the nature of the group, the Daily Liberal told its subscribers, to prevent accounts that are perceived to be fake from getting in contact with those who are honestly seeking out rentals.

Added to housing concerns are the implications of the removal of Jobseeker come the end of March.

Peter Dover who manages the Shoalhaven's Safe Shelter in NSW, the new welfare payment is not enough. Already with 150 people seeking accommodation, he told the South Coast Register, the time was right for the government to invest in social housing.

"But if the government isn't going to invest in social housing, they need to increase the JobSeeker so people can actually afford to rent a place at market rate, because that's all that's available.

"And if they don't do that, we've got a crisis which is just ongoing and compounding. It's getting worse each year."

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