Data released today by peer-to-peer listing site showed demand for shared housing skyrocketed in January, recording over 1 million visits and 212,000 active members. 

The site, operated by REA Group, provides a platform for renters looking for shared homes or housemates. 

“January marked the busiest month in history, with a record-breaking 212,000 active members using our platform to search for a new home or housemate, an increase of 6% on last year’s record,” community manager Claudia Conley said. 

Memberships also went up by 22% month-on-month with 67,700 new sign-ups, indicating an increasing demand for shared house living. 

According to Ms Conley, the rise in domestic and international travel, along with other seasonal trends, drove the surge in activity in January.

“The university semester is about to start, many members are looking to move for new jobs, most leases are renewed at this time of year, and migration is high as people flock to Australia for that quintessential Aussie summer experience,” she said. 

The findings also point to more renters opting to share houses to beat rising rent prices that is driven by an increasingly tight rental market

“The cost-of-living and rental crisis is leading even more people to turn to shared accommodation than usual,” Ms Conley said. 

As of December 2023, city renters are forking over an average of $600 weekly, 13.2% higher than last year, to pay their landlords. Renting in the regional areas was also 4.2% more expensive during the same period at $500 a week. 

With shared housing, renters can find weekly rents as low as $120 (not including utilities).

Demand for shared homes far outstrips supply 

Even for shared accommodation, tenants are facing tight competition as despite the 18.8% increase in new listings on the site, demand still outweighs supply.

“The seeker-to-lister ratio of many suburbs is over 100-1,” Ms Conley said. 

This means for every room available, more than 100 renters are looking for shared homes. 

Six suburbs in New South Wales were among the most in-demand with limited to no supply.  

Top 10 most in-demand suburbs




Tamarama (NSW)



Bronte (NSW)



East Perth (WA)



Elizabeth Bay (NSW)



Clovelly (NSW)



Fitzroy (VIC)



Malvern (VIC)



Barangaroo (NSW)



Highgate (WA)



Fitzroy North (VIC



Curl Curl (NSW)



Living with roommates to overcome ‘rental stress’

Living with roommates to save on rent is not new but with rental stress plaguing two-thirds of Australians, many who previously lived alone had to get a housemate to reduce their rental expenses. 

A tenant is under ‘rental stress’ if they are paying more than 30% of their gross income on rent.

The InfoChoice Rent Crisis Survey published in January found that 5% of Australian renters were forced to find a housemate due to their rent. 

Meanwhile, others reduced their other expenses (53.7%), moved to a smaller place (6%), and moved back in with their parents (1.2%) to overcome rising rents in the last 12 months.

RBA research indicates that during the pandemic, 120,000 extra households were created to accommodate the shrinking average household size from 2.55 individuals per household in late-2020 to a historical low of 2.48 individuals by August 2022. 

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