Scone and surrounding areas suffering from severe shortage of rental properties

GOOD LUCK: Ray White Scone's McEwan reveals huge competition for rental properties in Scone and surrounding areas.
GOOD LUCK: Ray White Scone's McEwan reveals huge competition for rental properties in Scone and surrounding areas.

IF you are, like myself, renting a house in the Upper Hunter, then you should consider yourself very, very lucky.

That is because throughout two of the region's largest towns, Scone and Muswellbrook - who have a combined population of more than 20,000 people - there are just two properties without applications already pending on them.

While that number increases minutely if you're willing to wait a week or so to move in, the market remains extremely competitive.

Licensee and sales manager at Ray White Scone (RWS), McEwan Dawson, didn't mix his words when asked whether supply was keeping up with demand.

"If we were looking to rentals, we wouldn't find them," he said.

"It is very hard to get hold of anything to rent, no matter who you are," added RWS principal Jennifer Dawson.

Prices are nearing a premium too, with a three bedroom house likely to set you back approximately $350 a week.

That equates to just over $116 per person, while a four bedroom home in Muswellbrook would be $420 according to Warburton Estate Agent's Sandy Warburton, meaning it's narrowly cheaper at $105 per tenant.

Ms Dawson said the going is tough for anyone looking for temporary accommodation in the nation's horse capital.

"The rental market is very hard in Scone, it's very strong," she said.

"It always has been fairly strong though, up until that switch with the mining when Drayton (Hunter Valley) closed, then there was a lot of properties that became available.

"But now there's some more mining things in place, so with operations like Mount Pleasant opening up it's recovering."

Despite those comments, Mr Dawson said there was another industry dominating the rental scene in town.

"I would say maybe two out of ten are miners, I know Muswellbrook is a bit different... but it's still predominately the horse industry here," he stated.

"The horse game is just going from strength to strength."

The Dawsons said veterinarians were among the most popular professions, although meatworks employees are also quite common.

Another difference between Scone and its nearby neighbour is that they have not been accepting an 'auction' process rentals.

Mr Warburton recently revealed that applicants have been offering more rent than what is advertised in attempt to get an advantage over other suitors.

However, Mr Dawson said they would likely not accept such an action if it were to occur with one of their properties.

"We don't engage in that auction type of thing because we find in that case it's often the ones that are very desperate, and we often question why that is," he said.

Strong references and good communication are still the best weapons at applicants' disposal according the realtors, with Ms Dawson advising them to attend the office in person if they want to build a good rapport.

With the thoroughbred industry continuously growing and expanding it's fair to say demand is unlikely to drop off any time soon, so if you get your hands on a house then keep it clean and don't let go.