But despite supply far outnumbering demand, the amount of newly leased properties is still far higher than at the same time last year.
For the week ending June 17, 2015, a total of 1136 houses and units were rented, up from 925 in the same period a year ago, while the number of properties available continues to grow with 7997 properties advertised for rent. These figures, provided by the Real Estate Institute of WA, also show a vacancy rate of 4.5 per cent in the three months to April 2015, well above the national average of 2.4 per cent.
With median unit rentals currently standing at $410 per week and median house rentals at $440 per week, this ongoing gradual decline of rental prices means that property owners will have to be open to negotiation.
While some rentals stay on the market for more than 30 days, RIEWA property managers network co-chairperson Kathryn Massey says properties that are appropriately priced, clean, modern and pet-friendly are often quickly snapped up by renters.
“Properties that are older and in need of some TLC are definitely being overlooked for those that are newer or well maintained,” she says.
Ms Massey also suggests landlords make sure their properties are presented at their best in order to be seen as good value for money.
“Overgrown gardens and aged fittings and fixtures are just not attractive,” she offers. “It might be a good time for some renovations – a fresh coat of paint, updating blinds, curtains, light fittings and floor coverings. Renovated bathrooms and kitchens are also very beneficial.”
Air conditioning, heaters, pools, spas and garden maintenance are also in demand extras, as are attractive geographical proximities to schools, shops and public transport.
The glut of options in the rental market, and falling median prices, has also led to a growing number of tenants breaking their leases in order to capitalise on a better deal.
Ms Massey says it not uncommon for landlords to offer rent reductions in order to secure their tenants for a further term and prevent broken leases.
“Financially this is a smart move in this market where extended vacancy periods are common,” she says.
“If tenants ask for extra amenities, such as air conditioning, security screens, a pet or an extra person to be added to the lease, it is definitely worth considering. “f the requests are not granted, more than likely there is a property just around the corner that will provide what the tenants want.”
She also suggests landlords think beyond the standard 12-month lease and try to secure tenants for longer terms.
“The longer the term you can agree on, the more certainty you have in terms of rental income.”