Rentals in the Shoalhaven suburbs of Worrigee, Vincentia and Ulladulla are running dry, according to new data.
And the same goes for Surf Beach in the Eurobodalla Shire and Eden in the Bega Valley Shire, as the pandemic has led to many trade in their metropolitan lifestyle for a sea change in regional NSW.
New research commissioned by Well Home Loans has identified 20 suburbs in NSW that have a maximum of three vacant rental properties.
Eden ranked number nine, with just one home available and a $90 per week increase in rents over the past 12 months.
Surf Beach came in at number 12 and Vincentia at 14, both with one home available and a $80 per week increase in rents over the past 12 months.
Worrigee ranked at 18 with three homes available and a $75 increase in rents and Ulladulla, number 19, with one home available and a $70 increase in rents.
Illawarra suburbs of Bulli and Thirroul also made it to the list.
Well Home Loans CEO Scott Spencer said there are two different stories playing out in these 20 suburbs, with investors in a strong position and tenants in a weak position.
"If you're an investor in a suburb that contains only three vacant rental properties, tenants have to compete hard for your property, which gives you the chance to push up rents," he said.
"Conversely, if you're a tenant, life is really tough, because it's difficult to find accommodation and you know rents are climbing fast.
"To make matters worse, all the suburbs in this report are in areas with very low vacancy rates, so even if tenants were prepared to move one or two suburbs along, they'd still find it hard to secure accommodation."
All suburbs on the list were in regional areas - not one was in Sydney, indicating that despite outrageous housing costs in Sydney, the housing crisis is hitting the regions harder.
Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair has called for a complete shake-up of housing in NSW to address the rising cost of having somewhere to live.
"This problem isn't going away - the government's own projections employment trends mean that in the future seven of the 10 job categories that will grow the most are in the lowest wage brackets," she said.
Every suburb on the ranking had only one, two or three vacant rental properties when the research was conducted in December.
To qualify as 'vacant', a property had to have been advertised for rent for 21 days or more.
To make sure every suburb had a legitimate rental market, suburbs were excluded if they had fewer than 500 rental properties.
Suburbs were excluded if nearby suburbs had a vacancy rate of one per cent or above, ensuring the neighbouring suburbs also had tight rental markets.
Areas with less than five per cent rental properties, and those with low growth in home rents over the precious year were also excluded.
The result was a small list of NSW suburbs that had legitimate rental markets and where tenants were competing the hardest for available homes.
Suburbs were then ranked based on the highest change in house rental rates over the previous 12 months.
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