With 3.5 million empty rooms in Australia, home sharing the obvious solution to accommodate returning students
At the same time the nation has been grappling with ways to boost low levels of housing supply, conversation around the enormous surplus of empty rooms in Australian homes has been missing.
With a wave of returning international students and school leavers about to commence or resume their studies, home-sharing presents an obvious and easy solution to the nation’s empty room problem, as well as a way to combat mortgage stress and cost of living pressures for everyday Aussies.
Along with the return of the university year, it has been reported that more than 40,000 Chinese students will return to Australia for the first time since the pandemic to commence or resume their studies.
Student accommodation at many of the Sydney universities is already full and waitlisted, while across the country in Perth, the city’s three universities were nearing capacity, prompting one vice-chancellor to even implore staff to house returning students.
More than 70 percent of Australian households have at least one spare bedroom, according to the 2021 Census – and more than one million homes that were empty on Census night.
Further, more than one in 10 households have three or more spare bedrooms – that represents at least 3.5 million spare bedrooms across the country held by just those one-in-10 households alone.
What we’re facing is a chronic under-utilisation of homes and apartments – more than one in four homes in Australia are single person households. Home sharing is a great way for Aussies to help tackle the nation’s empty room problem, while also earning money to combat the rising cost of living, and genuinely helping students in need of accommodation now.
Airbnb was born during a global financial crisis as a way for our co-founders to make their weekly rent, but also to meet a demand for accessible and affordable accommodation where there wasn’t any.
While the offering has clearly evolved and Airbnb has innovated over time, Hosts sharing one or more rooms in their homes still makes up an important segment of all listings in Australia.
Hosts on Airbnb who list private rooms present a convenient, affordable and flexible stop-gap option for those looking for somewhere to live. The benefits of private room accommodation are shared by both guests and Hosts. Hosts who rent out private rooms have the potential to earn extra income that can offset the rising cost of living or could fund their own travel plans.
Private rooms also conveniently allow people to try before they commit to living in a certain area, which gives communities looking to boost local economies a way to do so through visiting friends and relatives of students who inject valuable tourism dollars into local businesses.
Hosting a private room is also a great way to connect with people from different cultures, sharing language, culture and cuisines, and creating richer experiences for both students and Hosts alike. It fosters connection, understanding and belonging, and for those who live alone it may be a lifeline in the face of social isolation and loneliness.
Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
New private rooms listings added to Airbnb almost doubled between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, and a large majority of private room listings are in CBD areas and regional centres that are nearby a university campus, presenting students an array of options.
In a recent survey of Australian Hosts on Airbnb, in response to a question about why they host their space on Airbnb, approximately 35 percent of Australian Hosts said one of the reasons they host is to earn money to help cover the rising cost of living.
With rapidly rising interest rates, some economists have estimated that about 1 million households, or roughly a third of the 3.3 million with a mortgage, will need to make significant spending cuts to keep up with minimum repayments.
With the resumption of the university year, we encourage those who are thinking about Hosting to start getting their property and listing ready which can be done easily via Airbnb Setup. Hosts are in full control of their availability, prices, house rules, and how they interact with guests and each and every reservation is covered for free by AirCover – our top-to-bottom protection for every Airbnb Host.