A TOWNSVILLE builder is renting newly built homes instead of selling them to help ease the city’s housing crisis following the floods.
Tropical Homes build spec homes, which are then listed for sale to cater to people who want to buy a brand new house without having to wait for it to be built.
They have made 15 of those houses available to renters to help flood-affected families get accommodation; however, they are all now either been rented or have applications pending. They have partnered with Daring and Young Property to rent out the houses, which have been receiving up to 25 applications for a single property.
Jess Lacaze and her husband Ryan are renting one of the houses in Cosgrove Estate and plan to move in today after the Idalia house they had owned for the past 15 years was one of the worst-hit by the floods.
Mrs Lacaze said they were forced to self-evacuate with their two dogs after the water became waist high.
“We were about two streets back from the Ross River so now everything in our house has to be ripped up,” she said.
“After the initial shock and clean-up we started looking for a place to live.”
Mrs Lacaze said she saw an advertisement for the houses and attended the open home on Sunday, where she put in an application.
“The next day we got a phone call that we had the house and it was such a relief,” she said. “We had been living with friends who had taken us in.”
Tropical Homes general manager Will Porter said they were working to have more houses available.
“There were spec homes that were for sale but now they are being used as rentals,” he said. “We’ve got a couple more homes coming through the system that we’re trying to get ready but they are being snapped up before they are even ready.”
Since the floods the Department of Housing has received hundreds of calls for emergency housing assistance following the floods.
While updated vacancy rates following the flood are yet to be released, agents are reporting the number of available rentals has dramatically dropped. On Thursday the REIQ announced they have partnered with the REA Group who own listing portals realestate.com.au and flatmates.com.au to try to help more displaced families get housing.
Flatmates.com.au is waiving listing fees for people in Townsville opening their homes rent free to anyone in need of short-term accommodation.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the website could be used to list spare rooms suitable for tradespeople who were in town for a short period of time.
“The displaced locals whose homes have flooded and the hundreds of workers who have come to the area to start on repairs place a strain on available accommodation.”