Brighter Buying

Are 13 million spare bedrooms the solution to Australia’s housing woes?

by Kate Watt, Marketing Manager 20 July 2022

Renters could be excused for thinking Australia had run out of houses. Vacancy levels remain tight across many parts of the country.

For some thought-provoking solutions to Australia’s housing woes, we couldn’t go past the latest Matusik Missive.

Michael Matusik hails from Brissie and is a veteran of the property analysis game. He’s spent some time number crunching census data on unoccupied dwellings and spare bedrooms and turned up some interesting stats.

There are around 1 million unoccupied private dwellings in Australia – about 10 per cent of private residences. By his count, some 700,000 of these are “investment properties that are locked up rather than tenanted”.

Further to this, there are around 13,600,000 spare bedrooms in Australia. Let’s follow his maths:

Homeowners without a mortgage (who are usually older) have the most spare bedrooms (91%) whilst those renting have less.  Yet some 74% of renters say they have at least one spare bedroom.

“If two people, on average, share one of these spare bedrooms – they could hold two single beds – then these underutilised bedrooms could house Australia’s entire population. Wow!”

So what do we conclude from this number crunching odyssey?

“Australia has plenty of spare housing capacity,” he writes.

“We should be looking to implement some rules – both carrots and sticks – to better utilise what we have already got.”

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