It’s not just the rental market that’s cooked, flatshares are too

Australia’s rental housing vacancy rate fell to an all-time low in May and the flat share vacancy rate has fallen this year as unaffordability forces more people into long-term rentals. And yes, we can blame our crazy real estate prices.

Even though the closings have made many people never want to live with roommates again, it turns out that finding a room in a shared apartment is still difficult.

“Despite the initial increase in vacancy during the pandemic, demand in city centers has returned and vacancy is now low,” Community Manager Claudia Conley says PEDSTRIAN.TV.

“Occupancy has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and in some areas demand far exceeds the supply of rooms in sharehouses.”

Nationally, there is a ratio of five people looking for every room in a flatmate available on It’s been down slightly since a two-year peak in March 2022, when there were eight people for every available room, but that’s still bad news.

By zooming in on certain areas, the situation becomes a lot worse.

There are currently 11.3 people seeking every available shared room in South Africa, down from its March peak of more than 48 people per room. Radelaide!!?

There is a ratio of 16.4 people looking at every available room in the NT, down from its astonishing January peak of 103.6 people (!!!) per room.

And while Melbourne and Sydney don’t look so bad in comparison at a ratio of around 6:1, finding rooms in some inner-city suburbs is nigh on impossible.

A room in a Redfern flatshare costs an average of $293 per week, lol, and you’ll be competing against 19 other room seekers, according to Want to live in Fitzroy? You will be competing with 51 people per room.

Rental property vacancy has fallen in all capitals since this time last year.

“The national vacancy rate is 1.0% for the third month in a row and this is the lowest in our record that we have seen,” said the area’s head of research and economics Dr. Nicholas Powell says PEDSTRIAN.TV.

Adelaide has the lowest vacancy rate with just 0.3% of rental properties currently available for rent.

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack in terms of a tenant trying to find a rental to rent,” Powell said.

Melbourne had the most unoccupied rentals in May 2022 with the highest vacancy rate in the country at 1.6%, closely followed by Sydney at 1.4%. But that’s still *very low* and a huge drop since May 2021, when 3.6% of rentals in Melbourne were available.

But Australia’s migration rate fell sharply even before the pandemic and the current net migration rate is 5.4 per 1,000 people, down 4.4% from 2021.

So, with fewer people in the country as a whole, why is it so hard to find a place to rent?

The main reasons are the high cost of living and the affordability of housing in the toilets.

“The cost of living has been a big contributor to the surge in demand for rentals, with more people seeing shared housing as a legitimate, long-term way to live,” Conley said.

“The limited stock and the competitive market place additional stress on room seekers.”

Well, that’s just spooky. First my gasoline, my electricity and my salads, now the roof over my head.

And house prices are out of control. They are up 25 per cent nationwide in 2021 alone and even more so in Sydney, naturally.

“No one can keep up with this level of price growth,Powell said.

“The escalation in house prices during the pandemic has locked people in the rental market longer due to their inability to break into the housing market.”

Powell said it was good to see state governments and the federal government trying to address the problem with a number of immediate relief measures such as equity programs and lower taxes.

Premier of New South Wales Dominique Perrotet on Monday announced a First Home Buyer Choice program to reform stamp duty, which will allow buyers to choose between an upfront payment or a reduced annual property tax.

But Powell said that ultimately we need to balance supply and demand, and an effective way to do that is to build more affordable and public housing.

“The rental market and the sale market are linked and I think we have people in the private rental market who should probably be in social housing,” she said.

“It has to be something that is addressed by the government. We need to ensure that our most vulnerable Australians are housed in social housing. This puts additional pressure on the rental market when they really should be in social housing.

Until then, the rental crisis should last for quite a while.

The ball is in your court, Albo.

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