Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Metro Students Face Housing Difficulties

This is the time of the year when students at Australia's universities start looking for accommodation for the new academic year. This year students in the metro cities and especially Sydney face major problems in finding places to stay at an affordable price.

According to Sydney's Sun Herald (21 January), Sydney vacancy rates are now down to 1.7 per cent, creating a rental crisis, with open for inspections crowded with up to 50 competing house hunters. The problem has become so acute that the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales and UTS have all been forced to advertise to try to find rental places for their students.

In the words of one student, we have to apply for whatever we can get. Another student, a fourth year at Sydney University, has spent all Saturday for the last four weeks inspecting houses. So far she has looked at 40 homes and is astounded at the poor quality of homes on offer.

One $480 per week rental property looked like "a bunch of junkies had been living in it." Students unable to live at home are looking at paying up to $180-200 per week for a single room in share accommodation. Food, travel and communications costs have to be added to this.

Students at universities in Regional Australia's universities are in a much better position. Rental markets can still be tight, but there is a wider range of available accommodation including good college accommodation at much lower rentals. Rental savings can be as much as $12,000 over a three year period for a better standard of accommodation.

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