Australia is facing a severe housing crisis as more and more residents are resorting to single rooms to secure a place to live. The demand for flatshares has skyrocketed, with an 11.2% increase in users joining flatmates.com.au in the past month alone, and a 15.6% increase from October 2022. This surge in demand, however, has resulted in several suburbs across major cities having no available spare rooms for rent.
Sydney's popular beachside suburb, Clovelly, is one of the hardest-hit areas, with 516 people searching for a spare room but finding none. Similarly, Elizabeth Bay has 188 seekers and zero listings, while the CBD recorded 139 seekers with no available rooms. The scarcity is not limited to Sydney, as East Perth shows 350 seekers but zero rooms available.
Despite the lack of supply, renters are willing to pay a premium to secure a single room. Prices for single rooms have seen double-digit year-on-year growth in most major cities. In Sydney, the median room rent has increased by 16.7% to reach $350 per week, while Melbourne has experienced a 17.4% increase to reach $270 per week. Brisbane and Adelaide have also seen significant increases, with rents rising by 16.4% and 16.7% respectively.
Claudia Conley, the community manager of flatmates.com.au, emphasizes that this surge in demand is not just a seasonal phenomenon, but a reflection of the ongoing pressures on the rental market and the overall cost of living crisis experienced by Australians. The national vacancy rate currently stands at 1.2% as of August, indicating the scarcity of available rental properties.
To address the housing shortage, homeowners are now offering spare rooms as an additional income stream. New property listings on flatmates.com.au have surged by 38% in the past year. Ms. Conley highlights that half of all property listings on the website are from homeowners, particularly those who rent out a spare room in their own homes. However, despite this growing trend, more property listings are needed across the country to meet the escalating demand for share accommodation.
The current housing crisis in Australia continues to strain renters' ability to find affordable and available housing options. With the tight supply-demand dynamics, the government and property owners must explore innovative solutions to ensure that all Australians have access to suitable and affordable accommodation.