Young couple makes the most of cheaper rent in Calliope
MOST 18 year olds enjoy living with their parents for free, with the prospect of moving out of home and fending for themselves not on the cards just yet.
But for Gladstone couple Lauren McLean and Lockie Ware, it's never been a better time to discover independence.
The 18 year olds decided to move out of Lauren's parents' house and into a rental property in Calliope about a month ago.
They are paying a record-low $355 a week for a new home at Abbey Pl in the Cloudscape Estate.
The home has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room and is situated in a quiet street.
Lauren, who is a second-year university student, couldn't believe the great deal she and her boyfriend received for the home.
"I thought the rent would be more," she said. "It (the house) just got finished a couple of months ago.
"The area is completely new and 90% of the houses are rentals.
"I really like Calliope compared to Gladstone, and it's only 10 minutes from town. It's really great to get out of the industry area to some peace and quiet."
Lauren works part-time at Woolworths while Lockie works at Bechtel and their home suits their lifestyle.
"For this type of house, the rent is great," Lauren said. "I can still afford to do things that I love doing.
"Lockie can catch a bus to Bechtel near the IGA and he loves that."
For Lockie and Lauren, renting their own home is a big step but one they are proud they have made.
"This is our first official house," Lauren said. "It's my first home into adulthood and it makes me feel independent."
However, Lauren's family had mixed feelings about the move.
"My mum's a bit sad that I left but I think my dad's a bit proud," she said.
The couple say they don't want to rent "forever" but are happy to pay the $355 a week for the modern home. But Lauren said she has bigger goals for the future.
"I want to own a home one day so we are starting to put money towards a house," she said.
Ray White Gladstone director John Fieldus said the rental market at the moment was incredible.
"Two years ago those houses would have been $550 a week," he said. "It's the best value that I've seen in my career. It's dropped to a level that is extremely low. I am surprised.
"For $330 a week, 12 months ago it would have only got you a 30-year-old home and now you can get a brand new, four-bedroom home."
Cloudscape is behind Calliope Bowls Club and has about 250 homes, with more being built. Mr Fieldus said the area was "city quality with country convenience".
Another seven or eight rentals will be available in the next month in Cloudscape.