Young Canberrans call for co-housing as home ownership solution
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Young Canberrans call for co-housing as home ownership solution

A group of Canberrans are spruiking "co-housing" as an alternative to home ownership.

Kingfisher Co-Housing is calling on the ACT government to incentivise investment in co-housing to get the ball rolling.

Michael Bones (right) with fellow Kingfisher Co-Housing project colleague Mathew McGann (left) and architect Stephen Hicks of David Barr Architects also involved in the plans to the government which suggests establishing 'co-housing' as a housing alternative to expensive homes.

Michael Bones (right) with fellow Kingfisher Co-Housing project colleague Mathew McGann (left) and architect Stephen Hicks of David Barr Architects also involved in the plans to the government which suggests establishing 'co-housing' as a housing alternative to expensive homes.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Kingfisher's Michael Bones said he became interested in the concept after being unsatisfied with the housing options available to young professionals looking to own their first home.

"It looked just like a really innovative way that people could kind of blend community living with independence in a low density way," Mr Bones said.

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Originating in Denmark, cooperative housing or co-housing is a community of private homes centred around shared space, including a large kitchen, laundry and recreational spaces.

The property is owned by an organisation and sold as shares to tenants, who split costs on the shared amenities.

While the homes are privately contained with their own amenities, the residents co-operate on community activities inside the co-housing space.

Mr Bones and his colleagues are proposing a block of land in Braddon as the perfect spot for the new project.

His colleagues include Sophia Hamblin Wang, Matthew McGann and architect Stephen Hicks from David Barr Architects.

The ACT government is currently assessing the group's application with the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, with an estimated project cost of about $2.5 million.

Mr Bones said the ACT government should incentivise investment in co-housing similar to how they incentivised growth in renewable energy .

"Banks don't really know what to do with co-housing," Mr Bones said.

The proposed design of the buildings would be carbon neutral and energy efficient, allowing "more intimate houses rather than building an apartment block".

They're hoping for a block which could house four buildings within five structures, including two three-bedroom houses for families and smaller units for singles.

"Housing affordability is nuts, in terms of cost of housing versus wage growth," Mr Bones said.

He argued the projects allowed more independence but were more financially viable, allowing people to get their foot in the door of the housing market.

Finbar O'Mallon is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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