INDUSTRY NEWSNationalReal Estate News

Aussies move in with friends and family to avoid rental crunch

More than 2.5 million renters have been forced to move in with friends and family to survive the ongoing cost of living crisis, according to a new survey.

A Finder survey of 1070 respondents revealed more than 1 in 10 (12 per cent) Australians – equivalent to 2.5 million people – have moved into shared housing in the past year.

The research found 5 per cent of Aussies admit the soaring cost of rent has forced them to return to share accommodation – that’s an estimated one million people.

A further 3 per cent sought out shared accommodation because they could no longer afford their mortgage repayments.

The remaining 4 per cent went back to shared living because they missed living with others.

While 16 per cent of Australians already live with others.

Finder Head of Consumer Research, Graham Cooke, said as housing costs bite into budgets, many are taking action.

“Rents and mortgages have gone through the roof – they are the number one source of financial stress in Australia and people can no longer cut costs elsewhere to get by,” Mr Cooke said.

The average Australian could save $16,000 a year by swapping flat sharing for living in the family home rent-free, Mr Cooke said.

That assumes they are saving $300.50 per week on rent, which CoreLogic figures show is about half the $601 paid for the median-priced capital city rental in the December quarter. 

Mr Cooke said a year spent living with family or friends could make a big difference.

“Reducing or eliminating accommodation costs – if you are in a position to do so – will significantly improve your cash flow and you will accrue savings much quicker,” he said.

He said while shared living might take some getting used to, it was a financially savvy thing to do when times were tough.

“Not only will you reduce your housing costs but potentially you’ll save money by sharing utility bills and even lower grocery costs,” he said.

Mr Cooke said households should also park any cost savings in a high-interest savings account.

“The faster you can grow your cash buffer the more resilient you will be to economic headwinds,” he said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.