Trendy renters pay price
MELBOURNE’S hipsters are taking a housing hit to their hip-pockets. The cost of their thickrimmed glasses, jelly shoes and activated almonds pale in comparison to sky-high rents in the trendy Melbourne suburbs they risk going into debt to live in.
And experts are concerned these highpaying hipsters could mortgage their future.
Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows suburbs considered more ‘‘affluent’’ — those with the highest scores on the Socio Economic Index of Advantage and Disadvantage — have a higher share of renters aged 25-34.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Enzo Raimondo said the figures showed suburbs such as Frankston, Lalor and Werribee attracted significantly fewer renters aged 25-35 than hipster havens like North Fitzroy, Northcote and Collingwood.
Cool does not come cheap in inner-city Melbourne, where people pay a median weekly rent of $365 — almost $100 a week more than the state average of $277.
Tenants Union of Victoria chief executive Mark O’Brien warned it would take these renters considerably longer than their parents to save enough to buy their first home.
‘‘By the time people eventually couple up, the high rents they paid when they were younger means a lot of them struggle with the deposit or the finance available to get into the purchase market,’’ Mr O’Brien said.
As these fashionable young people rent for longer, buyer’s advocate Paul Osborne said the pressure was now on property investors to create more upmarket rental accommodation.
‘‘The bar has definitely risen. People are becoming very picky about what they want in a rental, like aesthetic and design,’’ he said.
And for Elwood renter Bethany Conroy, 23, having organic cafes, yoga studios and op-shops on her doorstep is well worth the financial burden.
‘‘Living here has definitely dragged me further into debt, but I just love the lifestyle,’’ she said. ‘‘After I’ve paid my rent, I end up spending most of my wage at the organic grocer instead of going to Woolworths.’’
Hip and broke: Beth Conroy loves her apartment in Elwood. Picture: Hamish Blair