Due to rapidly increasing rent prices, Australians have begun paying 1,000 AUD per month to sleep in a single-bed sleeping pod.
“Each capsule pod fits a single bed (can sleep one person only), equipped with own mirror, ventilating fan, USB ports, digital control panels, adjustable colour reading lights, safe locker, clothes hanger & curtain door for privacy. They look like space shuttles.
Each private room about 10sqm in size, has a queen size bed, desk and fan,” reads a Facebook ad from landlord Frank Chan.
That might seem like a lot, but it’s water in the bucket compared to what it costs to rent a flat in the country. Chan also advertises this fact, stating that “Capsule pod near CBD from $275 per week, or $1000 per month; Private room near CBD from $400 per week, or $1500 per month.
As reported by The Guardian, the average dwelling costs $508 a week (in Australia, it’s common to charge a monthly rate while advertising a weekly rate to make the cost appear smaller).
As of July, RentCafe has the average rent pegged at $1,560 per month for an apartment in Melbourne, with the average apartment being 907 square feet (the size of a slightly larger one bedroom or small two bedroom).
Moreover, according to PropTrack director of economic research Cameron Kusher, rents have increased by 9% over the last year, and the trend isn’t slowing down.
SQM Research has that figure for house rentals, reporting that the cost of renting a house has increased by up to 21.2% in some areas.
Those in their 20s have been the most severely impacted, with many coming to grips with the fact that nearly everywhere is unaffordable.
“I’ve seen the median monthly rental price in Melbourne increase very quickly. So much so that most of my friends can no longer afford to live in metropolitan Melbourne,” explains 24-year-old Bailey Perceval, who has a budget of $600 available for rent.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that so many are willing to forgo comfort and literally sleep in pods until they can save enough to land an apartment. They don’t have a choice.
And business is booming. Just last month, Chan was charging $900 for a pod, but his price has risen as demand has increased.
“I do not charge bond, no electricity charge, provide full furniture, full-time housekeeper, tenants have full flexibility when they want to leave, and my price is cheaper than 95% of comparable listings in booking.com, hotels.com and Airbnb the like,” Chan told Guardian Australia.
“I know there are many people who don’t understand much about the rental market and shout that my price is too high … but they really haven’t looked at how short-term accommodation functions.”
Chan also states that he acknowledges that there may be better long-term rates out there and that his pods aren’t meant to be used as long-term rentals.
“We add value via waiving bond and bills, allowing guests to stay as little as a day or weeks, providing on-site 24/7 manager, daily housekeeping and free breakfast,” Chan says in his ad.