'Didn't think it was possible': 10 new affordable homes for Throsby
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'Didn't think it was possible': 10 new affordable homes for Throsby

Seven years ago, Christine Van was struggling to find a home.

She was balancing being a single mum, studying at university and trying to find and save up for a place to live for herself and daughter Chloe.

On Monday, Ms Van was given the keys to her very first home thanks to the ACT government's land rent scheme, something she thought would never happen.

Christine Van and daughter Chloe with the keys to their new home. Through the ACT government's land rent scheme, 10 new affordable homes have been delivered by Community Housing Canberra.

Christine Van and daughter Chloe with the keys to their new home. Through the ACT government's land rent scheme, 10 new affordable homes have been delivered by Community Housing Canberra.

Photo: Karleen Minney

"It's surreal - I didn't actually think it was possible with my low income," Ms Van said.

"But it just shows when you put your mind to something, you can actually do it."

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With the help of Community Housing Canberra, Ms Van and her partner could save enough money for a deposit.

"Through CHC I was paying I think 75 per cent of market rate and that meant my rent was quite stable over a period of time," she said.

"Basically having a stable rent over seven years meant my family could have a secure home and we could afford to put deposit together which is a really rare big milestone to do for anybody."

The property is one of 10 new affordable homes delivered by the organisation through the ACT government's land rent scheme.

"It's still a little bit surreal, but the house is just beautiful," she said. "I still have to pinch myself that it's going to be our home - it's just amazing."

The land rent scheme gives low-to-moderate income households the option of renting land  rather than buying the land to build a home. This reduces the initial cost of entering the housing market and mortgage payments.

Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said it helped Canberrans who might otherwise have been unable to enter the housing market to build and live in their own home.

"It's a big day - it's not every day you get to come out and enjoy the celebrations of somebody moving into their new home," Ms Berry said.

"It's certainly a milestone owning a home of your own."

The scheme, which started in 2008, has seen more than 2000 land rent lease blocks released across the capital.

Ms Berry said until recently, the scheme was only available to people who met specific eligibility criteria, but land rent blocks had now been made available to community housing providers to offer to their tenants.

Community Housing Canberra have bought 157 land rent leases across Gungahlin and Belconnen including 60 in Bonner, 35 in Moncrieff, 14 in Jacka, nine in Lawson and 39 in Throsby.

In August, Community Housing Canberra was awarded funding of $230,000 under the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to establish a new affordable rental real estate management model, based on the approach of Home Ground.

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.