Equity Housing Model

Alternative Housing Ideas


Housing Affordability

a broken system

The NSW housing market is not working for anyone.

Private housing is too expensive to buy, affordable housing can't keep up with demand, and public (or social housing) housing waiting list is 40,000 long.

What if it could be better? What if these three sectors of the housing market no longer worked in silos, but were merged together into a model that was affordable enough for everyone to have a home of their own, yet flexible enough to give low-income families the assistance they need.

What we are proposing is a fairer, more equitable model of housing, the Equity Housing Model.

Learn more about this Social Issue

Housing Affordability

the people

Lower-Income Households

Lower-income households are the least able to absorb high housing costs and rising costs of living. They are generally grouped according to income levels defined by the NSW government:

  1. Very-Low Income households earn less than 50% of median household income and are generally pensioners, disabled, or other vulnerable groups living in Public or Social Housing.
  2. Low-Income households earn less than 80% and are eligible for Affordable Housing, but most are renting in the private market.
  3. Moderate-Income households earn between 80-120% and are also eligible for Affordable Housing. They generally have enough income to rent in the Market Housing but may not be able to afford to buy a home to own.

These three groups are all impacted by housing affordability in vastly different ways, which makes solving the issue much more difficult.

What If

private, affordable and social housing could work together to deliver better, more affordable housing for everyone?

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Reducing Costs of Development

To make housing truly affordable, the Equity Housing Model proposes three strategies to creatively reduce development costs.

  1. Public land is leased at an affordable price for housing development. The land would remain in public hands as it is leased not sold, for 99 years with an annual lease fee.
  2. Investor returns and interest are capped at a fixed rate, funded by Social Impact Investments or government loans for the purpose of addressing the housing crisis.
  3. Housing developed will be a mix of Life Lease, Affordable Rental & Social Housing. Affordable and Social Housing tenants can later buy their home as a Life Lease and gain permanent ownership and security.

If all three strategies can be implemented, the resulting cost savings would allow the sale of just 60% of the housing as Life Leases to cover the development costs. The remaining 40% would be saved and allocated as Affordable Rental and Social Housing.

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Reducing Costs of Operation

A 2019 study by Troy, Randolph & van den Nouwelant, estimating the costs of social and affordable housing delivery, found that 75% of the costs of operating affordable housing were debt & interest (under a private finance model), with only able to cover 53% of costs.

Under the Equity Housing Model, the sale of 60% of housing as Life Leases would be able to cover the majority of the development costs, resulting in less debt, and fewer repayment costs. This would substantially reduce the operating costs of housing, to a point where the rent from Affordable and Social Rentals would be able to cover costs.

This would allow us to provide up to 20% Social Housing within the model without ongoing subsidy and still maintain long-term viability.

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Affordability & Mobility

Under the Equity Housing Model, households of different incomes have a choice between different housing types and can choose the one they can most afford.

  • Moderate Income Households can choose to own their home through a Life Lease priced at 5 times their household income, which offers leasehold ownership for 99 years.
  • Lower Income Households can be offered secure Affordable Rental housing priced at 30% household income
  • Very Low-Income Households can be offered Social Housing at a nominal rent of 25% household income.

The model cross subsidises between higher and lower-income households to achieve a balance between affordability and financial viability.

Because all three housing types exist within the same building, households in Social and Affordable Housing can have their housing costs increased proportionally if their incomes increase, without the threat of eviction. Once they reach the income levels of a Moderate Income household, they may choose to purchase their home as a Life Lease.

The additional revenue from new Life Lease purchases can then be used to fund more housing.


More & Better Affordable Housing

The Equity Housing Model reimagines how we could develop housing in a way that improves the lives of people while making housing better, more affordable, and more equitable.

The model proposes an alternative vision where:

  1. Public land is retained and used as an investment into society and to house our citizens, not sold off to generate market returns.
  2. Investors expect to make a reasonable level of return, rather than profiteering to make a limitless profit off our basic human need for shelter and security.
  3. Households at different levels of income are given the assistance they need to secure housing and provided a clear path to homeownership and long-term security, which can be provided in the form of a 99-year lease.
  4. The private, affordable, and social housing sectors work together in one cohesive system to give people better, more equitable access to housing.



The next steps in developing this Design are:

  1. Identifying suitable land in Sydney that is available for affordable housing development.
  2. Sourcing capital investment to implement a pilot project.
  3. Developing land lease policies Local Councils and State Government.

If you are able to assist us in developing this Design, we would really appreciate you reaching out for a chat.

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