The guest room problem

Nerida Conisbee described a recent episode of The smart real estate investment fair how the number of guest rooms nationwide offers a good indication of how the current crisis has unfolded.

She said the metric, born in Canada, indicates that there is an oversupply of spare rooms for people who do not need them, mainly singles and couples, and a lack of availability for households. who need it, usually multi-family households and people in the rental market.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there are 13 million guest rooms across the country.

Ms Conisbee explained that in Australia, ‘we have a problem with people, especially older people, who sit in very, very large family homes, but don’t necessarily need the space.’

“But obviously, for financial, personal or emotional reasons, we choose to keep and live in this larger property,” she said.

These unused rooms could be used to help and relieve tenant pressure, especially at a time when national vacancy rates hit record highs of 1.2%. This situation is compounded by the increase in rents that has occurred over the past two years, which has seen rents increase by around 20% since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Ms Conisbee also commented that unlike property prices, which are beginning to stabilize amid rising interest rates and inflation, “rents continue to rise and will continue to rise because the international migration begins, our population growth continues”.

She noted that in addition to a lack of existing supply, new projects are struggling to get off the ground as soaring construction costs have led to an increase in insolvencies within the industry, meaning that “many many developers have gotten approvals for projects that they may not go through for a while because of these issues.

Another factor contributing to the rental crisis, which, at least in Ms. Conisbees eyes, “not going to end anytime soon,” is the lack of attention it receives at the state and federal level.

“If we look at this at the federal level, the focus is on first-time home buyers, and there’s also a focus on social housing, which is clearly important.

“And then at the state level, it’s mostly stamp duty at this point and also first-time home buyers. So that’s something that’s not looked at,” she said. concluded.

The guest room problem

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Last update: July 13, 2022

Posted: July 14, 2022