First build-to-rent-to-buy housing pilot program for women on low incomes in ACT
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) today announced its support for the first women’s housing Build-to-Rent-to-Buy pilot program in the ACT. This is an innovative project which will support women facing rental stress or at risk of homelessness.
NHFIC, in a joint venture with the ACT Government and Community Housing Canberra Ltd. (CHC) propose to finance and deliver up to 22 affordable rental dwellings for vulnerable women in Strathnairn, Canberra.
The pilot is aimed at delivering long-term stable and affordable accommodation for single women, typically aged 25 to 45 years old, and with little or no deposit to buy a home but with secure lower- income employment. The homes will include a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom dwellings for long-term rental with the option to buy the home at the end of a 10-year lease.
This proposed initiative provides a built-in pathway to transition from renting to home ownership. Under the concept, an affordable rental of 74.9% of the market rate would be set and a savings plan created for the potential buyer, funded by the lower cost of NHFIC’s finance and CHC’s operational efficiencies. This savings plan, coupled with a share of the capital growth would provide an opportunity for the potential buyer to accumulate a 20% deposit by year-10, at which point the tenant would have the option to buy the home.
This is the first program to be announced in the ACT following the Federal Government’s widening of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) to fund social and affordable housing. Under the in-principle proposal, NHFIC will provide up to $7.14 million in concessional loans from the NHIF to the project and will be combined with a $4.5 million grant from the ACT Government. CHC plans to acquire the site to develop the homes and maintain the program on a long-term basis.
Construction is due to commence in December 2023, subject to obtaining all required approvals.
Minister for Housing Julie Collins said: “Too many women across Australia don’t have access to safe and secure housing,”
“This is an important step in changing that for women in Canberra. This will not only provide an affordable place to rent – it is a steppingstone to the security of home ownership.”
ACT Minister for Housing and Suburban Development and Minister for Women, Yvette Berry MLA said: “The Ginninderry Women’s Housing Project is designed to provide a pathway to home ownership for financially vulnerable women who otherwise would struggle to enter the housing market.”
“This is not just about providing a roof over women’s heads; it’s about giving a real solution to the housing crisis many women face in our community.”
“This initiative will enable women to focus on building the future they want without struggling to make ends meet.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity and reflects the ACT Government’s commitment to putting housing first for those in need in our community.”
NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon said: “This innovative program is testament to the great work that can be achieved when federal and state government, developers and the community housing sector come together to deliver better housing outcomes for all Australians.”
“With the support of the ACT Government, NHFIC will be able to deliver these homes for vulnerable women and provide a genuine opportunity for home ownership.”
“The partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year to prove this concept can work. We are now able to progress a project that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of at-risk women and can potentially be recreated at scale in other Australian locations.”
Community Housing Canberra CEO, Andrew Hannan said: “CHC is proud to be partnering with both levels of Government to get this much needed pilot off the ground. With success, we hope that the model can be further fine-tuned and leveraged by CHC and other community housing providers, on future projects to support home ownership aspirations of this cohort of vulnerable women within the Canberra region and beyond.”
The Federal Government has introduced legislation to transition NHFIC into Housing Australia, with expanded responsibilities to support delivery of their Housing Policy agenda. The legislation includes renaming NHFIC as Housing Australia with primary responsibility for delivering 40,000 new social and affordable homes over 5 years from 2024. This comprises 30,000 homes to be delivered with funding contributions from the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) (20,000 social, 10,000 affordable) and 10,000 affordable homes under the National Housing Accord. These additional responsibilities are subject to the passage of the legislation. NHFIC will continue to deliver the Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS), the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA) and the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF, which was recently expanded as part of the Federal Government’s 2022 housing election commitments).
NHFIC’s mission is to improve housing outcomes for Australians. Established in 2018, NHFIC is a corporate Commonwealth entity that provides long-term and low-cost finance and capability building assistance to registered community housing providers (CHPs) to support the provision of more social and affordable housing. NHFIC lends, invests and provides grants to help finance the critical infrastructure needed to unlock and accelerate new housing supply. NHFIC supports home buyers by administering Government schemes that help them purchase their home sooner, and undertakes independent research into housing supply, demand and affordability in Australia. For more information and the latest data on our achievements, visit nhfic.gov.au