Brunswick East tops vacancy rate in the City of Moreland
Almost one in 11 homes are vacant in Moreland, but Victoria’s peak real estate body says enough is being done to fill them.
About 8.9 per cent of private dwellings in the municipality are unoccupied, latest Census data shows, up from 7.8 per cent in 2011.
Brunswick East and Brunswick West have the highest vacancy figures in Moreland, at about 10.6 per cent (595 properties) and 10 per cent (661 properties) respectively.
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The growing local vacancy rates come within an increase of more than 30,000 vacant properties across Victoria — from 246,742 to 278,629 — between 2011 and 2016.
Initiatives introduced by the State Government to encourage properties to be filled include an absentee owner tax increase from 1.5 to 2 per cent in the 2019 State Budget, and a 1 per cent Vacant Residential Land Tax in inner and middle Melbourne for properties that are vacant for more than six months in a year.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Gil King said enough was being done to ensure dwellings were occupied.
“Brunswick and Brunswick West are established areas that are undergoing quite a bit of development,” he said.
“The suburbs’ proximity to the CBD also make them a popular base for international students or (as) a ‘city pad’ for owners living the majority of their time elsewhere.
“It is up to the individual property owner to decide how they use their property. However, if it is not the main place of residence, the property is likely to attract land tax.”
Moreland City Council acting director of city futures Phillip Priest said vacancy rates around Brunswick were similar to other inner suburbs.
“The Census does not record why a dwelling is thought to be unoccupied but council understands that many will not be permanently unoccupied as residents may be away on holidays, the property may be newly completed, for sale, lease or under renovation,” Mr Priest said.
“Brunswick suburbs saw significant numbers of new homes built up to 2016 and there is a high proportion of younger people living in single person households — all of which may factor into a slightly higher percentage of unoccupied dwellings on Census night.
Nelson Alexander Brunswick agent Jonathan West said there was a lot of new development on Nicholson and Lygon streets, and new apartment blocks might have contributed to the higher rates.
“Those stats might be more towards finished apartment blocks that might be about to settle, or were in the process of being advertised for lease,” Mr West said.
“I think enough is being done to ensure they are filled. Investors want renters to get their return, so it’s unusual for properties to remain empty.
“Brunswick East in particular is a tightly held suburb, so the ones that come up are hotly contested.
“Those properties wouldn’t be sitting empty for long.”
The number of unoccupied dwellings in Brunswick, Coburg and Pascoe Vale were 9.5 per cent, 8 per cent and 9.6 per cent respectively, according to the 2016 Census.
There are 41,677 households, and 82,500 individuals, on the waiting list for social housing in Victoria, according to the Council to Homeless Persons.
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