The Liberal Government is launching a new $6.8 million affordable housing initiative that will help South Australians with low and moderate incomes – with a focus on older, single women – buy a home and stimulate the building sector.
Recognising older, single women are considered one of the most vulnerable groups in Australia, a new program called Assist will help this cohort more easily break into the housing market as part of the State Government’s Affordable Homes Program.
Launched today by the Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink, the Assist program is a shared equity initiative, enabling homebuyers to purchase a house and land package with the South Australian Housing Authority holding some equity, reducing the purchase price by up to 49 per cent.
An Assist buyer owns the home and enjoys all the benefits and responsibilities of home ownership, with the Authority holding a second mortgage on the property. This means the buyer’s repayments would be lower than if they had to buy the property on their own.
The first nine available properties under the program will be prioritised for eligible women who are single and over 50. Any of the properties not sold in 30 days to an eligible older woman will be available for anyone eligible under the Affordable Homes Program.
Under Assist, purchasers can buy house and land packages with a predetermined builder in metropolitan Adelaide. The percentage of equity shared by the Authority may be variable, depending on what the buyer can afford.
The house and land packages have a maximum price of $407,100, of which buyers may only need to pay up to 51 per cent. Assist properties will only be available for a limited time and sold to eligible buyers on a first-come first-served basis.
Minister Lensink said the new program would be a game-changer for women struggling to buy a home.
“The Liberal Government’s new Assist program means that this cohort of women can get their foot in the door of homeownership,” said Minister Lensink.
“These first nine Assist homes are just a start and we will be releasing more home and land packages under this program for eligible South Australians on low and moderate incomes in the future,” said Minister Lensink.
“We know that older women are now considered one of the most vulnerable demographic groups in Australia, with the rate of older women experiencing homelessness in Australia increasing by more than 30 per cent since 2011.
“That is why we have decided to release these first homes targeting older women, to see if there is an appetite for this cohort to take up this new offer.
“Overall, rates of home ownership are falling and South Australians are struggling to buy homes.
“The Affordable Homes Program aims to address this, and now, as part of that program, Assist will give eligible buyers more opportunity to get into the market.
“Assist will increase eligible buyers’ purchasing power without increasing their mortgage payments or creating mortgage stress for these households.
“Assist buyers can enjoy the benefits of home ownership, but only need to pay up to 51 per cent of market rate for the opportunity to buy a new home.”
The first nine Assist properties will be released in September and located in Adelaide’s western suburbs, including Findon, Kidman Park and Woodville West at sites the Authority is currently developing.
The homes will range in land size from 160 to 211 square metres and with one or two bedrooms.
“This Assist initiative is in addition to the Liberal Government’s sweeping $104.5 million housing stimulus package that includes a commitment to build about 90 homes, with the majority to be sold under the government’s Affordable Homes Program,” said Minister Lensink.
When a buyer purchases a property under shared equity, they enter into an agreement with the Authority to reduce their initial investment cost, while still gaining full ownership of the property and title. The portion owed to the Authority is repaid upon refinancing, sale, or settlement of an estate – whichever comes first.
The amount and the percentage that will be offered will be different for each property and each individual circumstance.
Affordable Homes Program standard eligibility criteria include:
• single person household earning less than $85,000, or
• couples and family household earning less than $110,000
• South Australian resident aged over 18 years
• Do not currently own residential property
• Plan to live in the property
• Have assets within the allowed limits.
For more information about Assist or eligibility visit www.affordablehomes.sa.gov.au/assist
Purchasers can obtain finance through HomeStart Finance, the State Government’s affordable home loan provider. Learn more at www.homestart.com.au