With skyrocketing house prices and land scarcity, innovative real estate models have become crucial in combatting some of the ACT’s housing affordability issues.
Solutions such as affordable rent schemes, social housing models and build-to-rent-to-buy schemes are helping people get a foot on the property ladder.
HomeGround Real Estate’s affordable rent scheme matches landlords with reliable tenants who are working towards saving a deposit for their own homes.
In this scheme, landlords offer their properties at a discounted rate and in doing so may benefit from a land tax exemption, tax deductibility for the discount and an additional 10 per cent capital gains tax discount. Landlords also save on property management fees.
HomeGround has helped many Canberrans find accommodation in an increasingly strained rental market, while supporting tenants by providing scholarships, courses and other study and professional-related events and opportunities for development.
CHC Australia/HomeGround Real Estate Canberra community development and marketing manager Cassia Vidigal says this holistic approach is responsible for the transformation of many tenants’ lives.
“HomeGround goes beyond providing affordable rent options, we also offer them opportunities for professional upskilling and personal growth,” she says.
“When a landlord decides to rent their property through HomeGround, they are changing lives.”
HomeGround is a social enterprise of CHC Australia, the largest community and social housing provider in the ACT.
CHC Australia works on many fronts, developing different affordable housing ownership and rental models to support low to mid-income families, people with disabilities, individuals exiting the justice system, victims of domestic violence and more.
One recent CHC-led project was an affordable home ownership development. The Throsby development included 29 three-bedroom properties that were sold to eligible buyers through the ACT Government’s Land Rent scheme. This scheme gives eligible low-moderate income buyers the option of renting land through a land rent lease rather than purchasing the land to build a home, reducing the up-front costs associated with owning a home. Buyers included a number of CHC past tenants.
Through this program, families that were living in social and community housing and many others that met the eligibility criteria had the opportunity to purchase their own homes.
Another affordable home ownership project for CHC Australia is the ‘Women’s Housing Initiative’ being developed in conjunction with project partners the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and the Ginninderry Joint Venture.
This project is expected to comprise more than 20 dwellings, and aims to help vulnerable women achieve homeownership through a Build-to-Rent-to-Buy (BtRtB) scheme. Should the pilot proceed, it is anticipated that construction would commence later this year.
Under the BtRtB scheme, a woman living in rental housing would pay an affordable rent (at 74.9 per cent of market rent) for a 10-year rental period. During that time, they could benefit from a savings plan, created on her behalf. At the end of the period, the woman would have the option to buy the property in which she has been living, adjusting for her share in any capital growth, and also benefitting from the savings plan accumulated over 10 years.
CHC Australia CEO, Andrew Hannan says the bundling is the key difference.
“Through this pilot project we aim to provide women with low-but-secure employment incomes, often with little or no deposit, with access to a safe, secure and affordable home with a built-in pathway to home ownership,” he says.
“We believe we can deliver a greater and potentially generational impact for these women and their families.”
Another example of an innovative real estate model, coordinated by Project Independence, is helping people with intellectual disabilities find an alternative pathway to an independent life.
The Project Independence model provides individuals with an intellectual disability the opportunity to progressively build home equity using just their Disability Support Pension (DSP) within a supported environment that encourages the development of independent living skills. A key distinction of the Project Independence model is that the resident’s payments from their DSP go towards building homeownership rather than being used solely as rental payments.
Project Independence provides accommodation and related support services in a purpose-built complex. Each complex consists of 10 ensuite one-bedroom units for residents, communal kitchens, living areas and a separate area for an on-site resident coordinator.