News: Sydney’s one-bedroom apartment rents squeezing singles into sharehouses

Published at SMH Domain, 2 February 2017

Despite Sydney’s rentals being the smallest in the country, singles are being squeezed into house-sharing arrangements due to sky-high rents, new data shows.

The cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s CBD is now $645 a week, a room-by-room breakdown of rental advertisements by tenant advocacy company Don’t Rent Me found.

And in other areas where one-bedroom apartments are common, such as Manly, Zetland and Pyrmont, the cost is in excess of $585 a week.

The vast majority of apartments in NSW are two-bedrooms – with 2298 – followed by 1322 one-bedroom apartments.

And in many suburbs, one-bedroom apartments aren’t substantially cheaper than two-bedroom apartments, forcing some tenants to change their wishlist.

In Burwood, a one-bedroom apartment is $531 a week, compared to $630 for a two-bedroom. In Manly, the cost difference is $623 and $788.

And in Parramatta it’s $400 for one-bedroom compared to $474 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Among those who has noticed the marginal difference is Sydney renter Jemma Kay – she is 27, single and doesn’t want to live with strangers. But when she searched the listings portals, the cost of renting solo was out of her budget.

“[It’s] $500 or $600 for a one-bed in the CBD area. Even looking further out west, there’s nothing less than $400 that’s decent.”

Now, she’s renting in Stanmore, paying $325 a week for a room in a two-bedroom sharehouse. 

This experience is common for renters, Tenants Union of NSW senior policy officer Ned Cutcher said.

“A lot of people who’d like to rent alone can’t afford to, they end up with a room in a sharehouse or boarding house,” Mr Cutcher said.

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