Students struggle to find affordable accommodation
by Aaron Wischusen
Australia’s largest share accommodation site, Flatmates.com.au, has experienced a 26 per cent surge in students urgently looking for accommodation in the lead up to semester one.
Despite a large number of available accommodation options, many students are being prohibited by rising costs and competition from other, mostly full time employed, accommodation seekers.
Managing Director of Flatmates.com.au, Mr Thomas Clement, said the issue could lay in students earning ability.
“While many university students work part-time jobs, their earning capacity can be limited due to heavy study loads.” said Mr Clement.
“With the high cost of renting, particularly in capital cities, students will find themselves competing with full time workers for share accommodation, which immediately places students at a significant disadvantage.”
According to data from Australia’s largest student portal, StudentVIP.com.au, most students living out of home will spend between $150 - $200 a week on rent, this is despite 61 per cent earning less than $15,000 per annum.
“In Sydney, for example, the average room rents for around $240 per week, while the average student who is living out of home is earning less than $300 per week.” said Mr Clement.
“It is therefore easy to see why a landlord may choose a full time worker over a student.”
“In major centres like Sydney, Melbourne and even Brisbane, we are seeing a growing trend of students sharing rooms to help offset their costs. While this isn’t ideal for someone studying, it can be the only affordable option.”
Managing Director of StudentVIP.com.au, Mr Andrew Maloney said over half of university students will live at home while studying, with many forced to commute long distances to attend classes.
“We found one in four students who live at home will spend one to two hours, each way, commuting to university.” said Mr Maloney.
“Most students find the cost of commuting is still more affordable than living in accommodation closer to their campus.”
Second year student at the University of New South Wales, Julia Padoani, said she turned down her first offer for a university closer to home.
“Originally I was accepted into the University of Sydney, but the commute would have been an hour each way and I couldn’t afford to move out of home to be closer to the campus.”
“I eventually changed what I wanted to study to move to a university closer to home.”
Mr Clement said he would urge anyone who lives near a university and has a spare room to consider taking on a student.
“Letting your spare room at a reasonable price would not only give you a bit of extra income, but would also help out a student desperate for safe and comfortable accommodation.” said Mr Clement.
“University students make excellent flatmates, they are generally very diligent, quiet and studious.”