Getting a foot on the housing ladder has never been more difficult, but a new affordable housing model developed in Canberra is providing fresh hope for first-home buyers wanting to live in the ACT region.
Ginninderry is a joint venture between the Suburban Land Agency and Riverview Developments, but what sets it apart is a unique model of affordable housing integrated into the overall master plan.
Stretching from the north-western suburbs of Holt and Macgregor across the border into the Yass Valley, Gininderry has the Murrumbidgee River on one boundary, Ginninderra Creek on another, and the Brindabellas providing a majestic backdrop. It will eventually be home to more than 30,000 people living in about 11,500 homes and is designed to set new standards in urban design.
Part of its appeal will be the architect-designed range of one, two and three-bedroom Flexi-living Homes which offer low maintenance, affordable living with the independence of a separately titled home.
Designed to fill the gap between apartments and traditional free-standing houses, the Flexi-living Homes have a lower price point. They are for sale only to those who meet a range of eligibility criteria, giving more people the opportunity to become homeowners.
Around 1000 people registered for a ballot to buy one of the 34 Flexi-living Homes sold in the new suburb of Strathnairn earlier this month.
Ginninderry Project Director Steve Harding said interest in the ballot demonstrated his team’s work building a genuinely sustainable, connected and future-proofed community resonated with Canberrans.
“We received around 1000 registrations for this ballot, and that level of interest demonstrates the appeal of what Ginninderry has to offer,” Harding said.
“We hope this project will help to lead the way in getting more Canberrans into their own homes.”
Flexi-living Homes will be integrated across the whole development and will eventually comprise 15 per cent of the homes in Ginninderry.
To be eligible to purchase, buyers must not own any property either alone or jointly with anyone, and at least one applicant must intend to occupy the home for a continuous period of at least three years, beginning within the first year of settlement, and must not rent the home before occupying it.
Buyers must also undertake that they will not on-sell the home for a minimum of three years from the date of settlement and the 12 months before purchasing.
The combined total income of all applicants, and their partners, must be less than or equal to $120,000.
The homes are offered at a fixed price, “so people know what they need to pay from the time they put in their application,” Harding said.
“To ensure this model of offering affordable housing went to our target groups, we put in place a range of criteria so these homes were not available to be purchased by investors or those on higher incomes.
“These homes are not only affordable to buy, but they are also affordable to live in … to accommodate the lifestyles and needs of entry-point buyers, the Flexi-living Homes are located near open spaces, parks and public transport.”
The Flexi-living Homes come in a range of interlocking shapes. They are designed to maximise liveable space on the block size, providing low-maintenance and affordable living with a huge range of one, two and three-bedroom homes that feature efficient and intelligent floorplans, balconies and courtyards, quality inclusions, solar panels and access to parks and open spaces.
A 30 to 40-year project, initial construction in Ginninderry commenced in 2017.
Mr Harding said the scale and timeframe of the development meant the team had an opportunity to take stock and make improvements to design at every stage.
The Flexi-living Homes will be spread across the development and include the more traditional blocks of land, and house and land packages, with lot sizes ranging from 90 square metres to more than 1000 square metres. There are also opportunities for multi-unit sites and commercial spaces. Planned facilities include new schools, shops, child care centres and medical centres.
Harding said interest in the Ginninderry project continued to increase as the region developed.
“Providing a diverse range of innovative housing options and adopting best practice design principles is central to the project’s vision, and it’s pleasing to see the market respond so positively,” he said.