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Home owners, renters double up with share house listings soaring

By Juliet Helmke
09 November 2023 | 10 minute read
claudia conley flatmates reb vqf79d

A pandemic-era trend may be walking backwards due to cost-of-living pressures, with Aussies increasingly seeking housemates in an effort to share the bills.

According to flatmates.com.au, the platform recorded a higher than usual growth in demand for rooms over October, off the back of an already busy September.

Membership of individuals seeking lodgings was up 11.2 per cent during October, and 15.6 per cent higher than the same month in 2022.

Moreover, new rental share listings on the site were also elevated, increasing 9.7 per cent over the month and a substantial 38 per cent in the past year.

The data indicates that while the average number of people per household fell during the pandemic, with time spent at home encouraging more people to try out solo living, the rapid increases in rents and cost-of-living pressures that have come to pass during that time may be causing a reverse of the trend.

Additionally, the return of migration has also seen the country’s student population balloon, with the cohort most likely to seek out shared accommodation.

The platform reported that in recent months “demand for house share living has soared”. And while room listings have also been rising, availability of accommodation has been revealed to be extremely patchy in some locations.

In Clovelly, NSW, there are 516 seekers but zero rooms available. Demand appears to be outstripping supply to the greatest degree in Sydney and Perth. There is also a complete lack of accommodation on the platform in East Perth, Western Australia, where 350 people are hoping to find a share house.

In the NSW capital, the situation is similarly tight in Elizabeth Bay, Curl Curl, South Coogee, Central Sydney and Barangaroo, where at least 100 people are looking for rooms, with none available.

Mosman Park, Highgate and City Beach in Western Australia are facing the same crunch.

According to Claudia Conley, community manager at flatmates.com.au, demand for rooms is only expected to ramp up as the year draws to a close.

“October has been our fourth busiest month on the platform this year, after our usual peak summer period. The volume of traffic we’ve seen on Flatmates.com.au in October we don’t usually see until December, indicating that demand for share accommodation is heating up well ahead of our peak season,” she shared.

She said that it is clear more Australians are turning to share accommodation as pressures on the rental market and spiralling costs fail to die down.

According to the community manager, a large proportion of the listings are actually from home owners looking to take on a housemate to help with the cost of maintaining their live-in home.

“An increase in property listings by 38 per cent since the same time last year reflects the growing trend of home owners renting out their spare rooms. Half of all property listings on Flatmates.com.au are from home owners, with the majority of these being live-in landlords renting out a spare room in their home,” she said.

“Despite this growing trend, more property listings are still needed across the country to keep up with the growing demand for share accommodation,” Ms Conley added.


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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