Low vacancies and high prices are driving Australia’ share accomodation boom
Australians are increasingly opting for shared living to mitigate soaring housing costs. Image: Canva.
  • More Australians turn to share accomodation to cope with cost-of-living pressures and low vacancies.
  • Record demand observed on Flatmates.com.au, driven by financial pressures and increased migration.
  • More homeowners are renting out spare rooms, but additional property listings are needed to meet demand.

With the peak season fast approaching, demand for share accommodation has been intensifying across Australia, according to the leading share accommodation platform, Flatmates.com.au.

According to Domain, Australia’s vacancy rate for October was a paltry 0.8%.

Residential vacancy rates – National

Meanwhile, rental prices in October were 8.4% higher than over the previous 12 months.

Weekly rents – National

Australians turning to share accommodation to save money

With vacancies at record lows and rental prices at all-time highs, the demand for house-share living has been escalating, with renters moving into larger households to share the cost of rent.

However, some suburbs have been left with a record number of share accommodation seekers and no supply.

Top 10 suburbs with the most demand but no supply – National

Suburb Number of People Looking for a Room Rooms
Clovelly, NSW 516 0
East Perth, WA 350 0
Elizabeth Bay, NSW 188 0
Curl Curl, NSW 148 0
South Coogee, NSW 146 0
City of Sydney, NSW 139 0
Barangaroo, NSW 132 0
Mosman Park, WA 126 0
Highgate, WA 124 0
City Beach, WA 108 0

Source: Flatmates.com.au

The platform observed a higher-than-expected rise in demand in October, 15.6% over October last year. Additionally, the website had 11.2% growth in new members over the past month, up from an already active September.

“October has been our fourth busiest month on the platform this year, after our usual peak summer period. The volume of traffic we’ve seen on Flatmates.com.au in October we don’t usually see until December, indicating that demand for share accommodation is heating up well ahead of our peak season,” said Flatmates.com.au community manager, Claudia Conley.

“2023 has been Flatmates.com.au’s busiest year on record due to a record-breaking summer and without our typical seasonal winter slump. It’s clear more Australians are turning to share accommodation as pressures on the rental market and a cost-of-living crisis fail to die down.”

Heightened demand likely long term

“Demand for share accommodation in Australia has consistently been strong but it took a turn during the pandemic, when sharers moved back home with parents or took advantage of cheaper rents and moved into solo rentals,” Conley told The Property Tribune.

“The increased demand we’ve seen over the past year and a half is due to many of those people returning to the share house market, the rising cost of living, tough rental market conditions, and increased domestic and international migration.

“80% of our audience live in share accommodation due to financial reasons and as long as Australians are concerned with their financial position, demand for share accommodation will persist.”

Understanding the share accommodation user demographic

While Flatmate.com.au’s user base is diverse, a large proportion is comprised of young adults, and there has been an increase in older members using the platform over the past year.

“Our largest demographic is members aged 24-35, who make up about a third of our audience. But our Flatmates.com.au audience has always been diverse, with members aged 45-65 increasing by 10% in the past 12 months,” Conley told The Property Tribune.

“Our audience is full of international students, migrant workers, mum and dad investors, single parents, families, older sharers, as well as the stereotypical young professionals, students and backpackers.”

More Australians renting out spare rooms to generate additional income

New property listings have also surged in the platform, up 9.7% over the month and 38% in the past year. With the cost of living continuing to spiral, Australians have sought additional ways to boost their income.

The rise of listings across Australia was also evident in other data, with PropTrack data recording a 4.5% and 1.6% year-on-year increase in new and total listings, respectively.

“An increase in property listings by 38% since the same time last year reflects the growing trend of homeowners renting out their spare rooms. Half of all property listings on Flatmates.com.au are from homeowners, with the majority of these being live-in landlords renting out a spare room in their home.

“Many live-in landlords on Flatmates.com.au are first homeowners, young couples and empty nesters, but we are seeing more families renting out a spare room in their home when a child moves out for university.

“Despite this growing trend, more property listings are still needed across the country to keep up with the growing demand for share accommodation.”

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