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Build-to-rent-to-buy housing to help vulnerable ACT women

A new initiative from the ACT Government aims to help vulnerable and at-risk women get onto the property ladder.

The program will use a build-to-rent-to-buy model, which would allow vulnerable women to pay rent at 74.9 per cent of the market rate to a community housing provider over a 10-year period.

Over the same period of time, a savings plan would be created on the woman’s behalf with the goal of purchasing the property.

By the end of the period, those who wish to purchase the property will be able to do so using the savings plan.

The build-to-rent-to-buy model will be tested in Canberra’s newest region, Ginninderry, which will be the first to cross the ACT-NSW border with the hopes it will grow to accommodate 30,000 people.

The women’s housing initiative will operate under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) with Ginninderry – a joint venture between Suburban Land Agency and Riverview Developments – and by community housing provider Community Housing Canberra. 

NHFIC Chief Executive Officer Nathan Dal Bon hopes similar programs will be rolled out more broadly in the future to help people across the country.

“With vulnerable women’s housing needs increasingly in focus, this initiative provides a great opportunity to explore affordable pathways to home ownership for at-risk women,” Mr Dal Bon said.

“As part of this initiative, we are exploring a build-to-rent-to-buy and shared equity project, and we’re thrilled to work with CHC and private sector partners through the Ginninderry joint venture. 

“We’re particularly excited that this bold initiative puts NHFIC at the forefront of housing finance innovation and could be leveraged more broadly to support vulnerable and at-risk women across Australia.”

Community Housing Canberra Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hannan said this new program builds on other public housing initiatives.

“We look forward to progressing this exciting project with our partners, which will complement our existing affordable rental and home ownership programs,” Mr Hannan said.

“Through this housing initiative 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. 

“The bundling is the key difference, and we believe we can deliver a greater and potentially generational impact for these women and their families. We see new enquiries every day from women of all ages, and it’s fantastic to think that we can better address this massive unmet demand.”

Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said the new scheme would help make public housing a priority.

“This initiative is a fantastic opportunity and supports the ACT Government’s commitment to putting housing first for those that need it in our community,” Ms Berry said.

“Our government has a long held commitment to intervening where the housing market fails to provide for people in our community and this MOU directly illustrates that. I am excited to see the new opportunities that this collaboration will bring for this part of the community housing sector.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.