SMH Business Day reports that in Bondi median house prices are are running at well over $1 million, and units at more than $500,000. Housing is not affordable or obtainable for many Australians, BUT…
Schemes in the US similar to the new Waratah Community Land Trust (CLT) Association in Bondi have halved the cost of buying a home.
A CLT sits mid-way between social housing, rentals and the private property market. It is
“a nonprofit, community-based corporation committed to the permanent stewardship of land and the permanent affordability of any housing located upon its land.
Land acquired by a CLT is never resold. It is retained by the CLT, held in trust for the community.”
The Trust owns the land in perpetuity and members buy only the dwelling on it, dramatically reducing their mortgages. Owners pay a nominal lease for the land and may later sell the dwelling to other trust members so they can get equity back from the investment.
A lease agreement between the occupier and the trust spells out maintenance responsibilities and the value of the property over time.
It appears the biggest obstacle to getting CLTs up and running is acquiring suitable properties.
Private citizens are driving this CLT project and will introduce the new concept to the Sydney market.
A director of the Sydney Credit Union, Mark Swivel, who is featured on the promotional video, says the model lines up well with the values of the mutual sector and could be a partial solution to the housing affordability crisis.
A similar organisation started recently in Castlemaine, Victoria, with membership fees of $20 a year, and has received property bequests in wills.
Waratah hopes to receive bequests, unused property on Crown land or other investments from governments and councils, and private finance from philanthropists and corporate foundations.
Trust chairwoman, Liz Page, hopes to get properties under the trust’s stewardship by year’s end. Dr Louise Crabtree, of the Urban Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney, says
”It’s a fiscally conservative and socially progressive model that appeals to everyone..
The model aims to bridge the gap between affordable rentals, community housing and market rate ownership. We’re trying to create more rungs on the housing tenure ladder.”
PWF first heard of CLTs through Vic Hunter of FISH, who is thinking of using the land trust model for Indigenous communities of the Kimberley.
Thanks for the lead Vic and good luck to all having a go!