Like many Aussie 20-somethings, Sydneysider Brooke Rolfe has come to terms with the idea of renting forever.
The 25-year-old, who shares a two-bedroom apartment with a housemate in Mosman on Sydney’s lower north shore, pays $600 a week in rent.
The public relations professional has been in that flat for several months, but has been renting on and off for about seven years — and has no plans to put her foot on the property ladder any time soon.
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“Buying a house is not a major goal I have for my life, to be honest,” she told news.com.au.
“If I do, great — but it’s not something I’m worried or stressed about.
“I’m renting because it’s an affordable option for me at the moment, given I don’t know where I want to put my roots down just yet — or if I want to at all.”
She said there were pros and cons that came with renting.
“I’m not financially committed to anywhere long term, so there’s freedom to move around as I please,” she said.
“But cons would definitely be having housemates.
“I’d love to be able to afford a decent place on my own, but realistically that’s not really an option.”
Ms Rolfe’s situation is far from unique.
In fact, according to realestate.com.au’s 2019 Renter Report, the average young Australian renter is more likely to be female, aged between 25-29, living in Melbourne or Sydney and with an annual income of around $50,000.
Conducted in partnership with Pedestrian. TV, the report surveyed 3500 respondents nationally, aged from 18 to 39, to discover what it’s really like to be part of “Generation Rent”.
And despite the legend of the “Australian dream”, it found a whopping 20 per cent of respondents would be happy to rent forever — although the majority of those happy permanent renters were based in Western Australia and Victoria.
The survey also revealed almost 40 per cent of young Aussie renters across the country were suffering from the epidemic of “rental stress” — which occurs when a household’s housing costs are more than 30 per cent of the gross household income.
But despite that grim statistic, most respondents either did not know they were in rental stress or simply did not care.
Unsurprisingly, rental stress is most widespread in Sydney where housing prices are notorious.
When it comes to choosing a rental, 51.7 per cent said location was a more important factor than price.
Competition was the toughest part of the renting process for 41 per cent of those surveyed, a pressure felt most keenly in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW.
Scraping together bond money was also a challenge, and most reported some form of rejection as part of their rental journey, with almost all renters being knocked back from at least one property and more than 30 per being rejected from more than three properties.
In more expensive states like NSW, the ACT and Tasmania, more that 40 per cent live with three or more housemates — which can lead to interesting household dynamics.
While 44 per cent reported moving in with a friend they already knew, close to 40 per cent ended up questioning that decision after living together for a period.
Meanwhile, 14 per cent claimed to have started a romantic relationship with a housemate, while doing the washing up was the top cause of rental household stress.
And bizarrely, “loud sex” is a bigger problem than unpaid rent for young Aussie renters — particularly for Sydneysiders.
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