The rental market is the fastest-growing section of the housing economy in Australia, with over one quarter of Australians now within the rental market. A host of factors continue to influence this growing shift towards a renting market, such as compromised housing affordability, population growth, lifestyle influences, job instability and underemployment. But what are the alternatives to renting?
While renting can allow every conceivable demographic to live and work closer to city centres, there are obvious drawbacks to this living arrangement. The most obvious is the lack of autonomy for tenants, the insecurity in their living arrangements, and the fact that the money they put in to their weekly rent is money they could also be putting into a mortgage.
If you are considering having a break from the rental market, or want to escape it entirely, have you considered the following alternatives to renting?
This might not be an option for everybody, but it can offer a temporary financial reprieve for some people.
The most common options for reducing your financial outgoings when working overseas is to either find an employer in Australia that has offices overseas, or to work within industries where accommodation is provided as a norm.
Finding an employer in Australia with overseas offices may entail considering this as an option years in advance, but some of the bigger firms often provide these options for younger employees as a workplace growth initiative.
Alternatively, consider looking into standalone jobs that may offer accommodation, or look within industries that provide this option, such as camps, hotels/hostels, yachts, cruise liners, overseas education programs, volunteer programs, and resorts.
Convert a van
Not for everybody, but this can be a great mid-term option for those who are willing to sacrifice their income (but can still make money remotely), and want to live an alternative lifestyle where travel options are limitless. Due to the freedoms it is marketed to offer, ‘vanlife’ is a growing trend for digital natives.
But this popularity isn’t necessarily a new thing. ‘Grey Nomads’ have existed for years; those retirees who sell up and hit the road with a giant caravan strapped to their back. The only difference now is that this grey nomad lifestyle has seeped down into the aspirations of the young, providing a relief from the worries of a rented home for as long as you want it to do so.
Live with the parents
No longer a living arrangement for the eternally single, living with parents is an increasingly common arrangement for those who have established financial goals for their future. Living at home with the parents without knowing where you are headed in the future may not be the best option, but if you know that you need to save for something (an airfare for overseas travel, a deposit on a house, an investment in a business idea), then you can join the 43.4 per cent of 20 to 24-year-olds and the 17 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds who are living with their parents (according to Census data).
If you have chosen to live with your parents because you need to sort out your finances, consider these various steps you can take to find financial freedom.
A Lismore-based company, Aussie House Sitters, won the Australian Small Business Champions Pet Services Award in 2018, revealing a growing gap in the market that needed to be filled: finding sitters for houses and pets.
House-sitting is a hidden secret in Australia, but this is changing. For those who don’t want to live with their parents, who are good at planning their months out in advance, and are flexible in where they live (i.e. they don’t own too many possessions), house-sitting can save thousands of dollars on rent each year and is one of the most effective alternatives to renting.
Buy a home!
This may sound easier than it really is for so many first home buyers, but never dismiss the idea of owning your own home. Beyond being a way to force you to save in the longterm, investing in real estate is one of the safest ways to develop longterm wealth, despite fluctuations in the market. Consider adopting one or more of the above steps (especially house-sitting and staying with your parents, or even a mix of these) to help you save for a home. With the average time it takes to save for a deposit in Melbourne creeping up above 6 years, there is never a better time to start saving than now.