Trendy renters pay price

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

Eliza Rugg

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

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