There are growing fears that Griffith’s housing shortage will result in a rental crisis, with an expected influx of workers and their families unable to find a place to live.
Nathan Thomas, an agent at Griffith Real Estate, says he is “really concerned” about the supply of houses keeping up with population growth demands.
“There is an absolute lack of rental properties available, so that market is really competitive if you are a tenant,” he said.
Around 99 per cent of all rental properties are currently occupied in Griffith, with just 75 houses available for rent, according to the website realestateinvestar.com.au.
Paul Pierotti, President of the Griffith Business Council, says business expansion will create around 1000 new jobs in Griffith over the next three years.
"We don't have enough rental properties for our current population. How are we going to deal with the influx of new workers?" Mr Pierotti asked.
Jennifer Over, 50, knows just how difficult it is for newcomers to find a place in Griffith. She says when her husband recruited a young man to work for him, it took the new employee 12 months to find a place to rent.
“He was such a nice guy, well presented and all, but he had to live in a caravan park for six months. We tried to help him, but he kept getting passed over at rental inspections,” she said.
Temporary accommodation options are very expensive in Griffith, making it difficult for newcomers to survive while the do the rounds of rental inspections.
Ms Over said even the caravan park cost $500 a week.
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The number of prospective renters seen at open houses is starting to rival big city markets like Sydney and Melbourne. Nathan Thomas said Griffith Real Estate had 60 people come through to see a single property two weeks ago.
“We are seeing a number of tenants applying for finance, they would rather buy than rent,” Mr Thomas said.
Griffith is now a great place to invest in property, according to Mr Thomas, with rental yields much higher than the capital cities. But this makes life tough for those who don’t have the resources to buy.
Even the Griffith City Council highlights a shortage of rental accommodation and low vacancy rates on its website.
"There is not enough land being released in areas where people want to buy it,” Mr Pierotti said.
Mr Thomas said he can understand why developers are frustrated, but land is starting to open up. But there will be a lag before houses are built, so renters will struggle for a while.