Stressed homeowners want to take on flatmates

by Adam Smith10 May 2012

Nearly a third of Aussie homeowners would take on a flatmate to help pay their mortgage.

Research from PRDnationwide has found 31% of homeowners would like to look into the option of renting out a spare room to offset their mortgage payment. While 44% said they wouldn't rent out a room, 14% said they had already taken on tenants, and 11% said they would like to, but had no space.

PRDnationwide director Aaron Maskrey commented that the result was indicative of a tough economy.

"Renting out a spare room to generate extra cash could reduce the likelihood of suffering mortgage stress,” he said.

The prospect of taking on tenants could also offer hope for struggling first homebuyers, Maskrey suggested.

“Getting onto the property ladder is increasingly difficult for thousands of first-time buyers in Australia, and increasingly, homeowners are making unused space earn its keep," he said.

Maskrey said the proportion of homeowners open to the idea of flatmates had grown. PRDnationwide last conducted the survey in 2009, when only around 20% of respondents said they would consider renting out a spare room.

"That was when the global recession had just begun to bite and people were perhaps under less pressure," he said.

But with cost of living pressures growing, Maskrey said homeowners were increasingly buying properties with a granny flat or spare room with the express purpose of renting it out. He said finding tenants was an easy proposition as well.

"Finding a lodger has become easier, with a range of websites advertising for rooms to rent and flatmates," he said.