More Australians in the grip of a tightening housing crisis are turning to single rooms to keep a roof over their head, but there are now several suburbs across major cities without a single spare room available.
Demand for flatshares is booming, with an 11.2 per cent increase in people joining flatmates.com.au — a website that connects renters with tenants — in the just the past month, and a 15.6 per cent increase from October 2022.
But the country’s crippling imbalance between housing supply and demand has extended into the single room market, with multiple suburbs showing zero listings for spare rooms despite renters willing to shell out big bucks for a place to stay.
In Sydney’s beachside Clovelly there were 516 people looking for a room with zero available, and in Elizabeth Bay there were 188 seekers and no listings.
For the CBD, the website recorded 139 seekers and zero rooms.
The desperation isn’t limited to Sydney, with East Perth showing 350 seekers and zero rooms.
And the gap in supply comes despite a substantial upswing in how much people are willing to pay for a room, with most major cities recording double digit year-on-year growth in prices for single rooms.
Median room rent in Sydney has increased 16.7 per cent to hit $350 per week.
In Melbourne, it has increased 17.4 per cent to hit $270 a week, while Brisbane has risen 16.4 per cent to reach $275.
Adelaide has increased 16.7 per cent to $245 and Perth has increased 15.2 per cent to $265.
Room prices in Hobart and Canberra have remained stable.
Flatmates.com.au community manager Claudia Conley said the demand boom had come before “peak season” and had transcended the usual “winter slump”.
“It’s clear more Australians are turning to share accommodation as pressures on the rental market and a cost of living crisis fail to die down,” she said.
Rents have risen sharply across much of the country as demand for housing continues to outstrip available supply.
The national vacancy rate stood at 1.2 per cent as of August.
More homeowners are also offering spare rooms in an apparent bid to secure another income stream.
New property listings on Flatmates.com.au have jumped 38 per cent in the past year.
“An increase in property listings by 38 per cent since the same time last year reflects the growing trend of homeowners renting out their spare rooms,” Ms Conley said.
“Half of all property listings on Flatmates.com.au are from homeowners, with the majority of these being live-in landlords renting out a spare room in their home.
“Despite this growing trend, more property listings are still needed across the country to keep up with the growing demand for share accommodation.”