Rentals snapped up in Carlton, leaving many students scrambling

Rentals snapped up in Carlton, leaving many students scrambling

With the university semester now under way, rentals in Carlton have been in high demand as students flock to secure accommodation close to campus.  

According to 160 properties are available for rent in Carlton, compared to 770 in the CBD.

Carlton, which is close to the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, has close to half its population between the ages of 20 and 29, with 63.8 per cent attending institutes of higher education. community manager Claudia Conley said shared accommodation was being snapped up fast while leases were also being renewed ahead of the academic year.

“Add to this a cost-of-living and rental crisis leading even more people to turn to share accommodation than usual, it’s no surprise that this January has been our busiest month ever,” Ms Conley said.

Data from indicated demand for rooms in Carlton outstripped supply, with a ratio of 21 seekers to one room listing available.

A local real estate agent said there was “quite a large increase” in the demand and supply of housing in Carlton as it was an area popular with students. 

The University of Melbourne and RMIT offer some on-campus accommodation, but the places are limited, and the fees are high with most costs needing to be paid upfront.

Former student Georgie, who completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Melbourne last year, said she recently went through a “really horrible couple of months” trying to find a rental property.

“My housemate and I went to at least one inspection every day for that two-month period, with lines of 30-plus people at each property,” she said.

“I think in the end we received over 15 rejections for the places we applied for”.

She said properties that were “generally in really bad shape” were still in demand.

“Some of the properties that were charging $800 for a three-bedroom house that didn't have kitchen benches, bedroom windows that looked into the kitchen or other bedrooms, shoebox-sized bedrooms, and were just generally in really bad shape.”

“It didn't matter though because demand was so high that if we didn't want it, there were plenty of other people who were desperate to find a place that they would've taken it.”

“It shouldn't have been as stressful of an experience as it was just to find somewhere to live.”

The Carlton and Parkville area has some of the highest rates in inner Melbourne with a moving annual median rent increasing by 25.9 per cent for one-bedroom flats, and 27.7 per cent for two-bedroom flats, according to data from the state government’s Department of Housing December 2023 rental report.

A Consumer Affairs Victoria spokesperson said there remained a high demand for rent increase assessments and encouraged renters to report excessive rent increases.

“We know that this is a challenging time for many Victorian renters, and we encourage anyone who is concerned about an excessive rent increase to contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for assistance,” the spokesperson said.

Consumer Affairs Victoria received 5448 requests for rent increase investigations in the 2022-23 financial year, and 4206 requests in the second half of 2023.


Photo by David Clarke.

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