Financial woes for sharers post pandemic

Claudia

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We surveyed over 9000 people in share houses from across the country to find out how the pandemic has affected their lives in share houses. Turns out a global pandemic wreaked havoc on the finances of sharers across the country – who would have thought it?!

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We know that 79% of our members live in share accommodation due to financial reasons(whether this be that you can’t afford to live by yourselves, sharing allows you to afford your dream suburb or home, or because you’re a live-in landlord who’s trying to pay off your mortgage etc), so to hear that almost one third of our members are in a worse financial position now since the pandemic began, is alarming to say the least!

Financial woes

More than half of sharers had their job impacted in some way due to the pandemic. This included members who were unable to work in lockdowns, on reduced hours or pay or who had to work from home. Due to these financial stressors, 13% asked for a rent reduction from their landlord with just over half of these being successful, which if denied, is a scary situation to find oneself in.

On the flip side, and maybe because their tenants couldn’t afford the rent, one third of landlords had their tenant move out during the pandemic. 1 in 5 sharers moved home or had their flatmate move back home with mum and dad due to pandemic generated stress.

Twenty five percent of you advertised your spare room for rent to help cover lost wage during the pandemic (up from 13.5% last year). Of those, two in five had to make a compromise of some kind – whether you reduced the rent, the time to find a flatmate took much longer than usual or you settled on someone you didn’t like to avoid paying double rent. 1 in 3 members still have not found a flatmate.

The number of respondents accessing government support in 2021 has almost doubled on 2020’s numbers, with 55% accessing government support packages this year (up from only 26% in 2020).

Weekly rent dropped across Sydney and Melbourne

Despite the world falling apart around us, flatmates got creative to keep their finances in check, with a quarter of you advertising a spare room for rent.

With rental prices in some of Melbourne and Sydney’s inner-city suburbs reaching new lows, now is an ideal time to move to your dream suburb and/or share house, while also keeping finances in check.

Biggest drops in weekly rent during 2020-21

Suburbs across these states that have seen the biggest drops in weekly rent include:

  • A room in Melbourne’s Fitzroy was priced at an average of $280 a week pre-COVID on Flatmates.com.au but can now be snapped up for a slightly cheaper average of $267 a week.
  • A room in Sydney’s Surry Hills was priced at an average of $330 a week pre-COVID on Flatmates.com.au but can now be snapped up for a steal of an average of $299 a week.

Rent increased in Covid-free states

On the other hand, primarily lockdown-free states like Queensland and Tasmania have seen average prices increase as more people migrate away from Sydney and Melbourne, making it pricier for those looking to find a new share house.

Biggest rises in rent during 2020-21

Suburbs that have seen the biggest rises in weekly rent in these states include:

  • A room in Gold Coast’s Burleigh Heads was priced at an average of $220 a week pre-COVID on Flatmates.com.au but is now $261 a week on average.
  • A room in North Hobart was priced at an average of $199 a week pre-COVID on Flatmates.com.au but is now $212 a week on average.

It’s clear the pandemic has had a huge impact on our community, both good and bad. Whilst many members are in a worse financial position, many members profited from working from home and not having the luxury of going out, meaning they saved big bucks. Eighteen percent of you luck ducks are in a better financial position now, than you were pre-pandemic.

Fingers crossed that with lockdowns hopefully over for good and with more and more flatmates rolling their sleeve up to get the jab, we’ll see a return to our pre-covid glory days soon enough.

If you’re thinking of making a lil extra cash after Aunty Rona stripped back the savings, check out how much your spare room is worth here. You could be sitting on a gold mine.

author

Claudia

claudia@flatmates.com.au

@claudiaconley_

Claudia is Flatmates' Community Manager. She loves her share house, her plants and her side-hustles.