The rental housing crisis in Australia is one of the most pressing issues facing the country today. With skyrocketing property prices and a shortage of affordable rental homes, many Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to secure stable, affordable housing.
This crisis is having a particularly devastating impact on seniors, who often face discrimination and financial insecurity in the housing market.
One solution is house sharing, or “co-living”.
The rental housing crisis in Australia has been driven by rapid population growth, a shortage of new housing construction, and a lack of government intervention. As the population of Australia grows, the demand for housing is outpacing supply, leading to increased competition for rental homes and rising rental prices. State and Federal governments have also been criticized for not doing enough to address the crisis, with many advocates calling for increased funding for affordable housing and rent control measures to protect tenants.
The impact of the rental housing crisis on older women in Australia is particularly severe.
Many older women face discrimination in the housing market, with landlords often preferring to rent to younger, working individuals over older women who may be retired or have a fixed income.
This discrimination, combined with the high cost and lack of appropriate rental housing, often leaves older women with few options but to move in with family or friends, or face homelessness.
In addition to the discrimination they face, older women are also more likely to struggle with the financial burden of rental housing. With fixed or limited incomes, many older women find it difficult to afford rising rental prices, leaving them vulnerable to eviction and homelessness.
This is particularly concerning given that older women are more likely to experience age-related health issues, making the lack of stable, affordable housing even more detrimental to their wellbeing.
While the rental housing crisis in Australia presents a number of challenges for older women, there is one solution that has gained popularity in recent years: house sharing.
House sharing, more recently known as "co-living” involves two or more people living together in a single home or apartment, sharing living spaces and expenses. This type of arrangement offers many benefits for older women, including lower living costs, increased social interaction, and a sense of community.
Living with others can provide opportunities for social interaction and friendship, which can be particularly important for older women who may be isolated due to health issues, retirement, or the loss of a spouse.
Calyptus Senior Living, a specialist provider of co-living homes for seniors, says the popularity of sharing for older people has exploded over the past few years.
Calyptus founder, Richard Andrews, says the long COVID lock-downs of 2020 and 2021 exposed the isolation felt by single seniors living alone.
He says: “Many single seniors experienced long periods of loneliness during COVID and now realise how beneficial living with other people can be. When you combine the joys of this socialisation with the cheaper cost of living in a share home, co-living becomes a very attractive option”.
While co-living may not be the perfect solution for everyone, it is an option that older women should consider as they navigate the rental housing crisis in Australia.
Whether you are looking to reduce your monthly expenses, increase your social interaction, or find a sense of community, co-living can offer a number of advantages that make it an attractive option for older women in the current housing market and should be seriously considered as a viable option.