The Share House Squeeze

March 18, 2024
March 18, 2024 Luke

The Share House Squeeze

Finding a rental property has become incredibly competitive in Australia. With cost-of-living pressures mounting and rental vacancy rates at record lows, share houses are more in demand than ever.

New data reveals just how fiercely renters are competing for rooms in our biggest cities.

Seekers Vastly Outnumber Available Rooms

In January 2023, over 1 million people visited the flat sharing site Flatmates.com.au. That’s the highest number of monthly visitors in the site’s history. Over 67,000 new members joined in January alone.

At the same time, new property listings rose by 18.8% compared to January 2022. But even with more listings, available rooms are scarce in our most popular suburbs.

In Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, the crunch is especially tight. The beachside suburb of Tamarama saw a shocking 344 renters competing for every 1 room listed in January. Nearby Bronte and Clovelly also made the national top 10 for the highest seeker-to-room ratios.

Melbourne’s Inner North Under Pressure

Melbourne’s inner north is facing the same squeeze. Hipster haven Fitzroy saw 1,738 seekers vying for just 10 available rooms last month.

Neighboring Fitzroy North and Malvern weren’t much better, with only 2-3 listings each and hundreds of interested renters.

These inner suburbs have rental vacancy rates below 1%, making the competition to secure a lease fierce. For renters who miss out on a coveted whole property, sharing is the only option.

Capital Cities See Zero Listings in Hot Suburbs

In other capitals, desirable suburbs had zero share house listings despite high demand.

In Brisbane, trendy inner-city Eagle Farm had no rooms available. In Adelaide, bayside Brighton was also emptied out.

Perth’s prestigious Mosman Park and several northern Darwin suburbs – Casuarina, Palmerston City, Cullen Bay – had hundreds of interested renters but absolutely no share houses available.

An Opportunity for Homeowners

For homeowners with unused rooms, this share house squeeze represents a big opportunity. Converting that spare bedroom into a rentable space can provide extra income.

With demand at record highs, renting out an empty room also helps renters desperate for somewhere to live. It’s a win-win in a rental market under intense pressure.

The cost-of-living crisis has made share housing more essential than ever. Until rental supply increases, the scramble for rooms in our biggest cities will likely continue.

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