Aussies embrace share houses amid cost-of-living crisis

Spare room listings also on the rise

Aussies embrace share houses amid cost-of-living crisis


By Mina Martin

As the cost of living in Australia continues to surge, more Australians are opting for share house living to tackle the challenges posed by a prohibitive rental market and escalating living expenses, according to a recent survey by

Rising costs drive the shift to shared living

The survey of more than 10,300 Australians showed that nearly half of the respondents (48%), comprising both room listers and renters, opted for shared accommodation primarily because they can’t afford to live on their own.

With financial constraints a pressing concern for many, the past year has witnessed nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) entering the share accommodation market for the first time.

Claudia Conley (pictured above), community manager, said Australians are seeking new ways to navigate the rental crisis and combat the rising cost of living.

“Over the past year, our audience has grown in size and diversity, and with the peak season for share accommodation at our doorstep, we expect demand for share house living to grow,” Conley said.

Spare room listings on the rise

To address affordability challenges, renting out spare rooms has emerged as a popular strategy, providing an additional income stream for homeowners.

Among respondents listing a spare room, 67% cited interest rate hikes as a key factor, while 86% indicated financial reasons, including mortgage payments and supplemental income, as their motivation.

Over the last year, there has been a surge in homeowners deciding to offer their homes as share houses, with 47% of respondents identifying as homeowners doing so for the first time.

“With the national median rent for a room in a share house currently sitting at $290 per week, renting out a spare room is an attractive off-set to rate rises for many homeowners,” Conley said. “Not only does it provide additional income, it also helps to increase the limited supply of rooms available to rent.”

Challenges and opportunities in a competitive market

With a highly competitive rental market and record low vacancy rates nationwide, those listing rooms for rent are experiencing increased ease in finding suitable tenants. Over the past six months, 32% of listings found a flatmate in under two weeks, a significant uptick from the pre-pandemic rate of 23%.

However, for those seeking accommodation, the landscape has proven challenging, with 37% struggling to find housing in the past year, up from 28% in 2022. The struggle is evident in the increased time it takes to secure a place, with only 39% managing to find accommodation in less than four weeks, a drop from the pre-pandemic rate of 66%. Meanwhile, 25% opted for a place that wasn't ideal to prevent homelessness, an increase from 18% in 2022.

Changing demographics in share houses

The challenging rental environment and ongoing affordability pressures have led to a transformation in the typical demographic seeking shared living spaces.

From the typical, university student-dominated demographic seeking share houses, the past year has seen a notable shift, with members aged 55 to 64 on recording the fastest growth, up 21%, followed by those aged 65 to 74, which posted a 13% increase since the previous year.

“Share accommodation is a long-term and legitimate way to live for many Australians, and until more homes are built to keep up with the demand for rentals, we expect share accommodation to remain popular,” Conley said.

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