A new survey conducted by Flatmates.com.au of more than 9,000 respondents from across Australia has revealed 45% of flatmates have experienced a rent increase in the last six months.

Of those, 52% said the rent hike was much more than they were expecting.

As a result, almost one in two are struggling to keep up with regular rent payments.

The face of share houses is also evolving, with room seekers between 65 and 74 the fastest growing demographic in Australian share houses - a 25% rise over the five years to 2021.

Flatmates Community Manager Claudia Conley said the rise in older people looking for flatmates is due to the rising cost of living and seeking company.

“Share houses today come in all shapes and sizes. Typical university share houses aren’t dominating the market like they used to,” Ms Conley said.

“Companionship and an additional income stream are increasingly popular reasons landlords opt into share house living.

“With the rising cost of living and limited rental stock, we are seeing the number of diverse share houses full of families, single parents, elderly sharers, migrants, and empty nesters continue to grow.”

Soaring energy costs leads to nitpicking over house rules

To keep costs down, flatmates are getting creative with almost two-thirds of the respondents saying they have introduced new house rules.

This included cooking meals together (23%), establishing rules for heater usage (22%), and working or studying away from home to keep bills low (10%).

“This year, we’ve seen the share house market change significantly. With COVID-normal underway, there’s been a shift from a desire for more space to simply being able to pay the bills,” Ms Conley said.

“A large proportion of the Flatmates.com.au community live in share accommodation due to financial reasons, and current market pressures and the rising cost of living are taking a toll.

“Facing these pressures, we’ve seen share houses work together to navigate higher rents and costs, whether that means finding new ways to save money or looking for cheaper rooms to rent.”

The survey also found 57% of respondents live in share accommodation due to financial reasons, with one in 10 co-living due to tight competition for solo rentals.

This comes as Domain’s October Rental Vacancy Report revealed national vacancy rates declined to the lowest level on record at 0.8%.

Renters are also struggling to find a room, with only 30% managing to find a place in under four weeks - a dip from 62% before January 2022.

See Also: How to prepare for the rising cost of living


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