GRIFFITH'S rental property shortage has reached critical levels resulting in soaring rents and slim pickings for families.
New figures from the Real Estate Institute of NSW show the Murrumbidgee has the lowest rental vacancy rate in the state at just 0.8 per cent, while local estate agents have reported families battling to apply for affordable three and four-bedroom homes.
Eligible families are being forced to wait between three and five years for a Housing NSW three-bedroom home, while the waiting time for studio, one and two-bedroom homes remains at two years.
The average weekly rental rate for units has jumped 5.4 per cent in the past 12 months to $230 while for houses, the median spend is $250 per week, according to RP data figures.
Rawlinson and Brown property manager Lauren Piper said while the low vacancy rate showed there was a lot of interest in the city, it was creating a lot of frustration for people looking to rent.
In the $220 to $280 per week price bracket, Ms Piper said there were at least 15 to 20 people applying for each property.
"It is hard, especially for large families because they often struggle to find something within their price range," Ms Piper said.
"We don't want to have lots of vacancies and we have flats come up all the time but there are a lot of people looking for average homes."
Ms Piper said property owners were also doing it tough, with higher expenses for rates, maintenance and water.
The rental shortage has been exacerbated by Yenda and Yoogali flood victims forced out of their homes while repairs are completed and Griffith Real Estate director Brian Bertolin predicted a run of vacancies around December, when people started moving back.
"Yenda floods have had a big bearing, driving through the village you can see there are a lot of empty houses there," Mr Bertolin said.
"I don't think it's a case that people can't find something, but I do think their choices are more limited."
Mr Bertolin said in his 25 years in real estate, he had never seen a better time to invest in Griffith.
"We have been affected in Griffith for a long time because house values have been high and rents have had to reflect that," he said.
"But it has levelled out and it is a really good time to invest in a house or unit, it's an excellent time to go down that avenue."