How to live with homeshippers in Sydney

A couple can finally escape the dreaded housemate problem after months of fighting.

The home-sharing business is booming, but for many couples the real challenge is finding a place to live together.

For the first time, a new survey shows homeshippies in Sydney are living together in the suburbs and in Sydney’s inner west.

“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” says home-sharer Amanda Smith.

“You don’t have the social pressure of being in a one-bedroom or a one and a half bedroom and then having a huge room, a large bedroom and a tiny bathroom.”

Ms Smith, from Sydney’s west, says she is in her 20s and is looking for a place in Sydney to live and raise a family.

“The only downside to it is I have to move every year because I’m in a university course and I’ve got to do the work and then I have a full-time job, which means I’m still not getting enough income to support a family,” she says.

“I’ve been able to get into an apartment and rent it out but then I can’t move to my partner’s house because I have bills to pay.”

Ms Jones is 30 and has been sharing a room in her parents’ house for two years.

“There’s a really big difference between living in a small house and living in an apartment with two or three people, with all the things they’re going through,” she said.

“Living in an empty apartment with no windows and no furniture and having no privacy, and then you’re living in the same house with four people, it’s a very stressful situation.”

So I think for the first couple of years, I’ve just been in a constant state of being stuck in limbo.

“But now I’m going to move on.”

Home sharing in Sydney has exploded in the past five years and in the last four months the number of properties for sale in Sydney increased by more than 50 per cent.

The Sydney Property Institute’s director of research, Lisa Parekh, says the boom has had a profound impact on the housing market.

“We know that when people get to the market, they are more likely to be in an investment property and those investments will do better in terms of rental income,” she explains.

“People are looking for properties where they can invest in a property.”

In the past few years, it has become the norm for young couples to rent out their rooms.

The University of Sydney’s housing expert, Richard Brown, says it’s become harder to find affordable rental accommodation for couples.

“A lot of couples are moving to Sydney because they’ve got a family and the cost of living has been rising, and they’re looking for housing,” he says.

For Ms Jones, the biggest challenge has been finding a suitable property to share with her partner, who is studying at the University of NSW.

“My partner and I had a year’s break last year and then we’ve been together for four years and we’ve just sort of been living the dream,” she laughs.

“He’s studying at university and he’s very much a student at university, so he’s really looking forward to this.”

But she’s also concerned about the future of her home.

“When we were together I had to move back in for the holidays and I’m just looking forward, but when I move back I have no idea when I’ll be able to come back again.”

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