The Best Student Accommodation Options in Australia: Explained

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International students want to know Australia's best and cheapest student housing and accommodations.

 

Australia, a top choice for international students, offers diverse accommodation options.

 

This guide helps you find suitable and budget-friendly student housing in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Hobart, and the Gold Coast, from university residences to apartments and shared houses.

 

Explore various options based on cost, amenities, location, and independence levels to meet your preferences.

 

 

1. Homestay

 

International students in Sydney are exploring homestay services cost and fees with aussie friends.

 

Homestay is when international students live with an Australian family.

 

It's great for learning about Australian life, practicing English, and getting cultural experiences. You have your room, get meals, and support.

 

It's good for the first month in Australia, and your school can suggest a provider for booking. Homestay is better than renting for a real Aussie experience while studying abroad.

 

 

Homestay Includes:

 

  • Airport pickup

  • A furnished room in the home of your host

  • Properly arranged meals

  • All utilities

  • Welcome and orientation

  • Homestay agent support

  • Cultural exchange with your host family

 

 

Cost

 

  • The cost will vary based on the type of homestay you choose. You can expect to pay between AUD $250 and AUD$ 350 per week, depending on the meals, rooms, and utilities.

 

 

Popular websites for booking Homestay in Australia:

 

 

 

Pros

 

  • Cheaper than other accommodation types and provide only meals and laundry facilities 

  • Living in a family atmosphere gives students a homely feel with all the necessary comforts 

 

 

Cons

 

  • Students can't participate in several cultural and social opportunities 

  • It may sometimes take effort to adjust to a new family, their house rules, and the type of food offered.

 

 

2. Residential Colleges

 

 

Living in a residential college near campus is a good choice for students.

 

It includes meals, cleaning, housing, and academic/social services. It's more expensive than halls of residence but offers extra benefits. Many international students prefer this option for its accessibility and convenience in Australia.

 

At a Residential College, Students Will Get The Following:

 

  • All meals

  • Weekly room clean

  • Fully-furnished bedroom

  • Easy access to library facilities

  • Tutors and Wifi

 

 

Cost

 

  • The cost of residential college apartments varies. However, you can expect to pay between AUD $200 and $750, including utilities.

 

 

Popular Websites for Booking Residential Colleges in Australia:

 

 

 

Pros

 

  • It is the easiest and most convenient accommodation option to stay in Australia. You get the convenience of staying closer to the college campus. 

  • Students get adequate privacy and an opportunity to live more independently in these self-contained living spaces.

 

 

Cons

 

  • Students may experience a sense of community and belongingness that they may get by living on campus

  • You must self-organise and pay for different facilities such as tutoring, internet access, and meals.

 

 

 

3. Managed Student Apartments

 

 

These purpose-built accommodations are designed for 100-400 students.

 

They offer single or twin rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens, and sometimes rooms are shared among 4 or 5 students. This option is easy to find and highly accessible for students.

 

  • It is a prevalent student accommodation option for overseas students in Australia.  

  • Built by private developers, PBSAs are located near universities and are an alternative to residence halls.

  • Each student gets a furnished room and has to share a bathroom and kitchen with other students. 

  • It can be catered or self-catered

  • Students also get high-end amenities such as a television room, game room, gymnasium, etc. 

 

 

Managed Student Accommodation Offers:

 

  • All utilities, including internet

  • Furnished bedroom with a wardrobe, chair, study desk, bed and mattresses. 

  • 24-hour security and on-site staff support 

  • Studies, social events and activities

  • Communal laundry facilities

  • Kitchen and bathroom with appliances

  • Air conditioning and heating

  • Study areas

  • Recreation areas include cinema rooms, gyms, table tennis, gaming, television, and BBQs. 

 

 

Cost

 

  • The cost depends from apartment to apartment. You can expect to pay between AUD $200 and AUD $500 per week. This includes utilities such as power, gas, water and internet. 

 

 

Popular Websites for Booking Managed Students Apartments in Australia:

 

 

 

Pro 

 

  • Since more people help cover the bills and rent, managed student apartments have reduced living costs.

  • Living together with others will help you foster a solid foundation for friendship.

 

 

Cons

 

  • One of the most significant disadvantages of living in a shared house is the lack of privacy. You will have to share the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. It can create a difficult situation, especially when you and your housemate want to use the bathroom simultaneously before going to university or work.

  • Your housemate may have all sorts of bad habits, like playing loud music or stealing your food, which can be hard to deal with.

 

 

4. Private Rental

 

 

This accommodation option is excellent for international students looking to immerse themselves in Australian culture.

 

You can live with friends or alone, depending on your preference. It is a cost-effective choice compared to other student housing options. 

 

Keep in mind that furniture may not always be provided, so you'll need to bring your own table. Rental agreements typically require advance rent and a security bond payment, equivalent to one month's rent. Additionally, you are responsible for separate payments for gas, water, and electricity bills.

 

 

  • It is a suitable accommodation option for those seeking higher flexibility, privacy, and independence and comfortable managing their accommodation arrangements.

  • Rental apartments allow you to select their preferred location, facilities, and privacy level. Still, you must pay rent payments, maintenance, and utilities.

  • Students can save money by dividing rent and utility expenses between roommates. 

  • The rent and security payment (equal to one month's rent) must be paid upfront.

  • Such properties can be unfurnished or furnished.

  • Each student must sign a lease agreement directly with the landlord or a property agent.

  • If cost isn't your primary concern, private off-campus accommodation can offer you everything you need to feel at home.

 

 

Cost

 

  • The cost of a rental apartment varies. You can expect to pay around AUD $100 and AUD $500 per week. However, you will have to pay for food and utilities yourself.

 

 

Popular Websites for Booking Private Rentals in Australia:

 

 

 

Pros

 

  • It is an excellent option for overseas students keen to immerse themselves in the fabulous Australian culture.

  • Students can choose any residence place, i.e., in the suburbs or city.

  • You get greater independence living in private rentals over other accommodation types. Unlike on-campus accommodation, students have to share cleaning duties, deal with landlords or real estate agents, pay bills, etc., which makes them responsible and self-sufficient.

  • You can choose wherever you want to live. It can mean setting up a house further out in the suburbs or somewhere within the city.

  • Private rentals offer a lot more independence than other accommodations. It helps you become self-sufficient and responsible when handling household chores like sharing cleaning duties, paying your bills, and even dealing with property managers or landlords.

  • It gives you more freedom to live as you want. However, you may have to sit down with your housemate and set a few basic rules for the house.

 

 

Cons

 

  • You have to deal with real estate agents and landlords.

  • Sharing the space with others can get tricky as they may have a different lifestyle than yours. Moreover, shared house conflicts can get ugly — so be wary!

  • Living out of your home can be expensive, particularly when deciding to live independently. You will have to bear additional expenses, such as bills and food.

  • Differences in lifestyles among roommates can make living in a shared space challenging. 

  • Dealing with landlords and property agents may not always be a pleasant experience.

  • Private rentals can be expensive if you decide not to share the accommodation. In that case, you must bear the cost of all required amenities, bills, and food by yourself.

 

 

5. Halls of Residence

 

 

These student housing choices are associated with universities and can be found on campus or nearby.

 

International students can rent a single bedroom and share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. Some institutions offer apartment-style rooms with private kitchens and bathrooms.

 

The fees typically cover utilities like gas, water, and electricity, and students often enjoy complimentary internet access in their rooms.


 

  • Some universities offer rented apartments on or near campus for their students. 

  • Students get the security of university-provided housing and the freedom of fully self-catered living.

  • Most Australian universities provide on-campus accommodation options. 

  • They lie within or close to the university campus.

  • They offer easy access to academic facilities. 

  • They feature shared bedrooms and spaces, such as bathrooms, kitchens, study areas, and common rooms. 

  • Most first-year students prefer this structured living experience because of the supportive community environment they provide.

 

 

Features

 

  • Self-catering facilities

  • Shared bathrooms, kitchens and recreational areas

 

 

Cost

 

The rates of Halls of Residence start from AUD $320 and lead up to AUD $ 1,000/month. 

 

Almost every major college and university in Australia offers Halls of Residence, mainly catering to international students.

 

 

Pros

 

  • Overseas students can get a home-life experience and comfort. They can use high-end amenities, including swimming pools, cinema rooms, and a gymnasium. 

  • You don't need to worry about commutation due to the proximity to the university campus. 

  • Living in residence halls is an excellent opportunity to socialise, network with new people, and attend weekly events such as parties, karaoke nights, and formal balls.

 

 

Cons

 

  • Your institution may require you to abide by specific rules. This may include maintaining noise levels, the maximum number of guests allowed in a party, usage of equipment and other facilities, overnight guests, and more.

  • Halls of residence are usually expensive — the cost may vary between different institutions. Also, it is crucial to note that some services like cleaning may not be included in this accommodation. So to cope with these expenses, always keep an eye out for bursaries and scholarships.

  • Even though residence halls provide an overall positive experience, some students might need their privacy, and some may find social opportunities distracting.

 

 

 

6. Boarding Schools

 

 

Numerous private secondary schools in Australia provide comprehensive boarding options for student housing to international students.

 

Boarding schools typically include meals, laundry, and cleaning services, and boarding costs may encompass social activities and academic tutoring services.

 

Most boarding schools cultivate a supportive family atmosphere, allowing students to choose between shared or private rooms.

 

  • Several private Australian secondary schools offer overseas students boarding school facilities, meals, cleaning, and laundry services. 

  • The fees may include the costs for academic tutoring services and social activities after school. 

  • Students can choose between shared or private rooms offering a supportive family atmosphere.

 

 

Features

 

  • Provides meals, laundry, and cleaning services 

  • Support Services

 

 

Cost

 

  • The accommodation cost is around AUD$ 11,000 to $ 22,000 per year.

 

 

Pros

 

  • Boarding schools enable you to build social connections.

  • You get all the services, including cleaning, food and laundry. You may also get to participate in social activities and get tutoring services.

  • Boarding schools are an excellent way for overseas students to form new friendships and develop social contacts 

  • The cost includes standard services such as cleaning, laundry, and food 

  • Students may also avail of tutoring services and be a part of social activities

 

 

Cons

 

  • You will only be allowed to occupy one room, and you might have to share the bathroom and kitchen with other boarders.

  • The fees for boarding school can be very high.

  • Students have to share the kitchen and bathroom with other boarders

  • Considering the convenience offered, boarding schools are costly compared to different accommodation types

 

 

7. Hostel Accommodation

 

 

This is a popular option for students relocating overseas or interstate for studies, serving as an excellent short-term solution until they secure permanent housing.

 

There are two types of hostel accommodations to choose from:

 

  • This accommodation type offers a valuable opportunity for social interaction amongst other overseas students.

  • Bathroom and kitchen amenities are shared, and students must cook for themselves. 

  • Relatively affordable than homestay or university accommodations

 

 

Backpacker Hostels

 

  • This accommodation option provides a relaxed and vibrant party atmosphere for students. Backpacker hostels come in several categories, with some offering additional services like complimentary breakfast, freebies, and free airport pick-up, while others provide essential services.

 

 

Classic Hostels

 

  • Classic Australian hostels are known for providing a high service standard. You can get different types of services in these hostels ranging from less or average to good or excellent. 

 

  • Students will have furnished bedrooms in hostels and access to a shared kitchen, bathroom, laundry, recreation facilities and lounge area. In these types of accommodations, students need to cook for themselves as compared to on-campus accommodations, and this type of accommodation is much cheaper. 

 

 

Cost

 

  • Depending on the hostel you choose, it will cost you around AUD $90 to AUD $150 per week. 

 

 

Popular websites for booking Hostels in Australia:

 

 

 

Pros

 

  • Proximity is a definitive advantage if you get a hostel near your campus. There are usually several hostel options in the city's centre, making it more convenient for students studying in the Central Business District (CBD).

  • Living in a hostel allows you to meet new people, mainly when new to the place. 

 

 

Cons

 

  • You may find that the cost only sometimes adds up to what you get, especially when you have to pay extra for food.

  • You have to share the facilities in a hostel with several other students (it can be 50 or more).

 

 

8. Temporary Accommodations

 

 

 

Before arriving in Australia, arranging temporary accommodation for at least 3 to 4 weeks is essential.

 

This allows you time to search for permanent housing options and become acquainted with the new city.

 

It's crucial not to secure private or permanent accommodation without personally inspecting the property.

 

Here are some temporary accommodation options to consider:


 

  • Guesthouses

  • Hostels

  • Temporary housing offered by the institution

  • Low-cost hostels

 

 

Cost

 

The accommodation cost in Australia is between AUD 90 - 150 per week.

 

Note: If your institution offers temporary accommodation, check out its website or contact support staff for more details.

 

 

A Popular Website for Booking Temporary Accommodation in Australia:

 

 

 

Pros

 

  • When renting temporary accommodation, you may have to sign a short-term lease, which gives you the flexibility to move out as soon as you find permanent housing.

  • You do not have to worry about getting your furniture as the short-term properties are fully furnished.

 

 

Cons

 

  • Short-term rentals can be costlier than long-term rentals in the same accommodation.

  • The property owner can end the rental lease at any time, which can result in a stressful situation to search a new accommodation within a short time.

 

 

9. Free Accommodation - Au Pair

 

 

 

Working as an au pair (nanny) is a fantastic option if you have childcare experience. Numerous families in Australia seek childcare services and, in exchange, provide food and accommodation.

 

This arrangement can be perfect if the working hours align with your class schedule. While it might require additional effort to meet the working hours, it offers free accommodation, making it an excellent budget-friendly choice.

 

  • In this accommodation type, an AU Pair, i.e., an overseas female, works and lives with a host family. 

  • As an AU Pair, you care for the house and children. In return, you get a monthly stipend, accommodation, and food.  

  • It is an excellent option for those with prior experience in child and house care. 

  • It is generally a free accommodation option that lets you earn while studying in Australia, provided that your working hours don't interfere with your university hours. 

 

 

Pros

 

  • They are suited for nannies or people with prior experience in childcare if the working hours are different from the class timings.

  • The family you help with childcare provides free accommodation, regular meals, and a certain amount of money. 

  • It is among the most economical options to live in Australia 
  • The relevant work experience you gain by helping an Australian family with their needs can boost your resume.

  • It could be the perfect way to learn about Australian culture and experiences with other people.

 

 

Cons

 

  • Working as an au pair will require you to adapt to another family's lifestyle.

  • You might have to keep your plans aside and prioritise the family's plan.

  • When you work and live in the same place as your employer, dividing your work time and free time can be challenging.

 

 

10. Move-in With Family or Someone You Already Know

 

 

If you have trustworthy contacts, like family or relatives residing in Australia with available accommodation, staying with them is a wonderful option.

 

This provides an opportunity to establish social connections beyond the university campus and enjoy an independent lifestyle. However, it might mean missing out on the unique experience of living in student housing, characterised by its enjoyable and social atmosphere.

 

Note: To be approved to host you, family members or friends must undergo a few checks, including a police inspection.

 

 

Pros

 

  • Students moving with family or close friends in Australia can enjoy all the comforts of home, like personal space, home-cooked meals, and more.

  • Living with family or relatives is also relatively cheaper for international students. One can work fewer hours and dedicate the remaining time to their studies.

  • Students can access their own study space, which is rare to find on-campus or shared accommodation.

 

 

Cons

 

  • International students may miss out on several on-campus social activities while living with a close relative or family member in Australia. On the other hand, students living on campus enjoy various activities and form close-knit friendships.

  • Students may have to follow specific house rules and face privacy issues while living with close family members.

  • Commuting to and from college may be a hassle if one stays far from the campus.

 

Before arriving in Australia, conduct in-depth research to evaluate each accommodation type based on budget, priorities, location, transportation, closeness to amenities, safety, lifestyle choices, and support services.

 

Consider visiting properties, seeking advice from student support centres and university housing services, and discussing with other overseas students the cost of living to make an informed decision.

 

 

11. How To Find The Best Student Accommodation In Australia?

 

Australia offers various student accommodation options, both on and off-campus. As an international student, finding suitable accommodations within your budget may require some assistance.

 

Here are a few helpful ways to make informed decisions:

 

 

Step 1: Consider Your Budget 

 

With many student accommodation options available in Australia, you first need to consider your budget and then look for options that suit your budget. You can choose from on-campus colleges and off-campus options.

 

Make sure to research your institution's financial help options, such as bursaries and scholarships and possible government allowances like Relocation Scholarships and Rent Assistance

 

 

Step 2: Do Precise Research 

 

This step is vital in your decision-making process. Thoroughly examine each accommodation option by consulting institution housing advisers and visiting on-campus residences.

 

Ensure comprehensive research both offline and online. If opting for an off-campus location, prioritise proximity to your university or institution.

 

 

Step 3: Weigh Up Advantages And Disadvantages

 

Once you've examined each option, assess the advantages and disadvantages of each accommodation.

 

For instance, while sharing a house with friends might offer friendship, it may not align with your academic needs. Similarly, on-campus accommodations may be relatively costly and potentially limit your sense of independence.

 

 

Step 4: Manage Your Applications

 

 

Make sure to handle your accommodation arrangements wisely. Submit your on-campus housing applications on time. If choosing shared housing with friends, ensure that everything, from bond payments to utility sharing, is well-organized and managed.

 

Australia provides various student accommodation options, so carefully consider your needs and budget when picking the right place to stay.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

 

Can International Students Rent in Australia?

 

Yes. There are approx. 720,150 overseas students enrolled across several education sectors in Australia. Around 50% of them are private renters.

 

If a student rents a house, he has to pay a "bond" or security deposit and some rent in advance (to cover the first four weeks of your rental period).

 

Only the relevant government department should hold the bond money in each Australian state/ territory. 

 

It is to pay for any damages that you, your house guests, or your housemates may cause to the rental property during the rental period. In case of no harm, you will receive the entire bond amount at lease termination.

 

Check the below website of your state/territory-level Fair Trading government agency to know more about your rights and obligations when renting in Australia.

 

 

For more details, check out our post on renting an apartment in Australia for international students here.

 

 

What Type of Accommodation is Best for Students?

 

When students come to Australia, they often wonder whether on-campus or off-campus living is better. Let's look at both options, discussing their pros and cons to help you make the right choice.

 

On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Accommodation in Australia:

 

On-Campus Off-Campus

The cost varies per number of meals, studio, single room, twin sharing, lodges, etc.

 

It ranges between AUD 160 to 170 per week

The cost varies per city, rent, amenities, the number of people sharing the accommodation, etc.

It ranges between AUD 85 to 440 per week.

Due to high popularity, you will find a limited number of seats with each college. Students should apply early to secure a seat.

Some examples include:

residential colleges, apartments, or halls of residence.
This type of accommodation is readily available. Examples include - Shared houses or rental apartments, homestays, guest house accommodation, etc.
The stay duration is between 4 to 52 weeks based on your course duration. Students can stay for shorter or longer terms regardless of their course.
Includes pre-arranged amenities like water, electricity, internet, food, etc. Students get most of the amenities. However, they have to arrange for themselves when living in a rented accommodation.
As on-campus accommodations are near universities, they are relatively convenient stay options due to no traveling involved. Students may travel from/to universities depending on the accommodation location and could incur money and time in commuting.

 

 

Does HECS Cover Student Accommodation?

 

HECS-HELP loans are only available for domestic students and cannot be used to cover costs such as accommodation, textbooks, or laptops. International students are not eligible for HECS-HELP loans.

 

 

How Do You Pay For Student Accommodation in Australia?

 

It's important to note that financial aid programs, including accommodation assistance, offered by the Commonwealth and states/territories in Australia are typically available to domestic students.

 

International students often rely on their part-time job earnings to cover accommodation costs, as they are not eligible for certain financial aid programs.

 

 

Financial Accommodation Support

 

 

Student Accommodation Allowance

 

Full-time Year 11 and 12 students receive $1472 financial assistance for up to 2 years who must stay away from their Tasmanian home to attend a registered government or private school.

 

 

Living Away From Home Allowance

 

Secondary school students who stay away from their homes to study may get a higher rate of Youth Allowance if:

 

  • The distance between their parents' home and their place of study is over 90 minutes by public transport.  

  • Your parent's house is in an isolated area and 56km or more away from a government school. Your parents' home is isolated due to obstructed roads for 20 school days a year.

 

 

Relocation Scholarship – Services Australia

 

Students who are getting Youth Allowance or ABStudy can get Relocation Scholarship if they:

 

  • Are approved to study overseas for their Australian course

  • Relocate to or from a remote or regional area in Australia for studies

  • Have an approved regional placement.

 

 

Rent Assistance – Services Australia

 

Students who rent in defence housing/retirement village/ community housing organisation and receive any of the below payments can avail of this financial assistance.

 

  • Age Pension

  • Carer Payment

  • Disability Support Pension

  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance

  • Austudy 

  • Youth Allowance

  • Special Benefit

  • Family Tax Benefit

  • Parenting Payment single and partnered

  • JobSeeker Payment

  • Farm Household Allowance.

 

 

How Do International Students Get Accommodation in Australia?

 

Choosing suitable accommodation is essential for a comfortable and fulfilling academic journey. With plenty of options, navigating the housing market may take time and effort.

 

Here is a systematic approach to help international students secure the perfect home for themselves:

 

  1. Start your search well in advance to find the best options and avoid last-minute stress.

  2. Determine your accommodation preferences to get clarity on the most suitable type of accommodation for yourself. Some considerations include location, amenities, closeness to your university/college, budget, etc.

  3. Research online platforms for student accommodation to explore available options. These include GumtreeFlatmates2stayDomain, and Airbnb. If you want budget accommodation, try exploring shared accommodation listings or join roommate matching services to find compatible housemates. Check out the Homestay network and Home Stay if you want a homestay. If you wish to live in Hostels, refer to sites like Travel Australia Centre, Hostel Bookers, and Yha to book hostels in Australia. If you rent Managed Students Apartments, sites like Semester in AustraliaCampus Living Villages,  UniLodge, and Urbanest are worth exploring.

  4. Contact your educational institution's housing office or student services department for on-campus accommodation options.

  5. Join online communities, dedicated student groups on social media, forums, and other similar places to gain valuable recommendations, insights, and opportunities to find roommates or shared accommodation.

  6. Attend accommodation fairs/events organised by educational institutions or housing organisations. These are the best places to catch up with landlords and real-estate dealers and explore options in person.

  7. Plan a virtual tour to view potential accommodations to assess the property remotely. Nowadays, most agencies offer this service to potential tenants. 

  8. Evaluate different accommodation options and shortlist them based on your preference criteria. 

  9. Having found an appropriate option, do the necessary paperwork, read the terms and conditions carefully, sign the rental agreement, and make rental payments/required deposits to secure your accommodation.

 

All these steps increase your chances of finding the perfect student accommodation in Australia.

 

 

Tips and Considerations on How To Find Accommodation For Students in Australia:

 

  • Budget is the prime thing to consider when choosing student accommodation. Students can consider affordable on-campus and off-campus accommodation options and apply for government-based financial assistance like relocation scholarships and rent assistance to ease their budget. 

  • Costs differ based on your selected state, city, and accommodation type. Cost of living calculators are a great tool to estimate your expenses and how they vary between states. 

  • Always confirm the total accommodation cost and other expenses you may be liable to pay, such as a bond, gas, water, and utility bills.  

  • Consider the distance between your accommodation from your campus and the accessibility of public transport, such as a tram, bus, or train

  • Explore amenities, support services, and recreational centres in that area, such as shopping centres, hospitals, emergency services, etc. 

  • Always perform elaborate research when searching for student accommodation. You may need to weigh the pros and cons and compare available options based on your preference criteria, visit the on-campus accommodations in person, and speak to the housing representatives to form an informed decision.

  • Whether arranging accommodations, submitting applications for on-campus accommodations, or making bond payments and sharing utilities with friends, overseas students should be dedicated, punctual, and disciplined.

 

Useful Topics to Explore:

⇒ Transport Methods in Australia
⇒ How to Change Your Course or Institution
⇒ Top Aussie Slang Words (Accent)
⇒ How to get PR in Australia for Students
⇒ Driving in Australia as an International Student
⇒ Applying to Study in Australia: Student Timeline

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