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Affordable living boost through build-to-rent

Property

Affordable living boost through build-to-rent

Build-to-rent projects in Brisbane may provide a blueprint for similar affordable housing on the Sunshine Coast. WORDS: Tracey Johnstone.

Ignition strategies for the residential building industry are coming thick and fast including the Queensland government’s recent Build-To-Rent pilot project announcement.

Build-to-rent is where developers build apartment blocks, not to sell but solely to rent. It is an affordable housing strategy already seen in the USA and UK, trialled in Sydney and Melbourne, and soon to appear in Brisbane’s CBD fringe suburbs Fortitude Valley and Newstead.

Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland CEO Kirsty Chessher-Brown believes that with future demand, the same type of housing project may be built on the Sunshine Coast.

The Brisbane pilot project developers Frasers Property Australia and Mirvac will construct 750 apartments across two high-rise complexes with occupancy planned by 2023. Within the two complexes 240 apartments will be provided at a discount rent of about 20 per cent below the median rent for the area.

This dwelling type provides secure, long-term rental accommodation for tenants who are unlikely to qualify for social housing, but still need affordable living options.

Minister Grace Grace says, “We will meet part of the rent cost for the affordable homes to allow a discounted market rate to be offered to eligible tenants like health and emergency service workers.”

Unlike build-to-buy projects, which need to secure a majority of individual apartment pre-sales before commencing construction, the residential development is held by the developer for about 20 years. For this pilot project the owners will be Frasers and Mirvac.

“It gets people into the inner city and gives them the opportunity to rent close to where they work, gives them access to higher frequency public transport and employment,” Ms Chessher-Brown says.

“The build-to-rent model (also) has some real benefits around the type of amenity that is offered in those buildings.”

These amenities include communal areas such a swimming pool and shared barbecue facilities, which people may have had if they were living in a detached house.

The first stage of the pilot project will be used to test different locations and build-to-rent models. “Then I expect it will be an asset class that will form part of our future cities,” Ms Chessher-Brown says.

Employment opportunities, institutional investment interest and available holdings will drive build-to-rent in regional cities.

“The Sunshine Coast’s strong interest and emerging track record in education and health would be two industries that I think will drive the demand for this type of product,” Ms Chessher-Brown adds.

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