If the first year of the pandemic didn’t make you question aspects of your life, the second certainly did. And for nearly half of Australian renters, that questioning was directed toward their abode. The stat was found as part of a new survey from Flatmates.com.au, which saw more than 9,000 respondents sharing what life in a share house was like for them in the second year of the pandemic.
“The extra downtime in lockdown has given many renters time to think about where and with who they want to live, with 43% reassessing their living situation during the last year,” says Claudia Conley, Community Manager at Flatmates.com.au. “It’s no surprise that more outdoor space and wanting to move to a bigger home were key drivers.
“But with lockdowns, finances have continued to be a pain point for many renters who are looking to upsize. With rental prices being driven down in some areas across the country and as lockdown restrictions ease, now is a great time to look for an upgrade. It’s about knowing where to look, what to look for and who to move in with.”
As for how renters fared with their flatmates in 2021, almost half say their relationship is the same, while a further 10% say they are closer than before. In fact, 22% call out friendships as the best thing about living in a share house.
When it came to romantic relationships and living situations in 2021, however, the results weren’t as rosy. Of the 16% of flatmates who made the leap to move in with their partner during the pandemic, more than half have since broken up.
The survey also looked at the biggest bugbears for flatmate relationships, finding messy housemates to be the single most annoying thing about living in a share home (37%). Also on the deal-breakers list when looking for new housemates were a party house and expensive rent.
“Living with housemates can be challenging, but it can also foster lifelong relationships,” says Conley. “The pandemic has shown many renters how rewarding living with a housemate can be. But keeping the peace within a share house is critical — and it takes work from all sides.”
Conley added that the site is now seeing a new criteria on the checklist when searching for a housemate: vaccinations. “While messy housemates have long been a deal-breaker, it’s likely we’ll start to see vaccination status becoming increasingly important,” she says.