Co-operative housing consideration for reform

Co-operative housing consideration for reform
Co-operative housing consideration for reform

Housing co-operatives should be seen as a priority for expansion to assist in addressing housing affordability, suggested The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) to the inquiry into Home Ownership.

Housing co-operatives are key players in the range of responses needed to address Australia’s housing affordability crisis, affirmed BCCM. 

"A report by the Co-op has revealed that nearly eight in ten Australians aged between 19 and 29 are concerned about the level of mortgage debt they may face in their lifetime, and the prospect of ever being able to own a home.

"The current speculative model of housing ownership cannot deliver affordable housing for all. It is time to consider alternative ownership models and co-operative housing has proven to be a very significant opportunity for housing market reform. 

"Co-operative housing can either be provided as rental housing or based on a wide range of co- operative ownership models. In general, co-operative housing provides long term, secure and affordable housing for people on low to moderate incomes." 

Member participation directly reduces cooperative housing management costs, asserted BCCM in the submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics. 

"Recent benchmarking demonstrates that co-operative housing is the most cost effective form of social housing program. Community Equity New South Wales (CENSW) has estimated that housing co- operatives produce savings over ten years per 1000 properties of $4.07 million in comparison with other social housing sectors.

"Seed funding needs to be provided to specialist housing co-operative centres that can function as a central resource agency for housing co-operative development. 

"The role of the resource agency would be to refine documentation for the various models, promote models to potential consumers and provide advice services to developing co-operatives. 

"Existing co-operative housing providers could be funded to expand their educative role. 

"Funding for this initiative could come from sources not limited to government but include stakeholders with an interest and commitment to the provision of affordable housing such as trade unions, customer owned banks, consumer-focused mutuals, consumer interest groups and member-owned super funds.  

"Rental co-operative programs could be further expanded by capital funds being made available to develop new stock or alternatively through the transfer of existing social housing stock. 

"A source for this funding could be through a combination of government seeding grants and commercial loans from financial institutions with an interest in developing new lending products in the housing loans market place. 

"Collaborative partnerships are also possible with co-operative and mutual capital investment partners ranging from financial mutuals (another form of Co-operative) or member-owned super funds to community development finance institutions. 

"Financial mutuals can also assist with affordable housing through the provision of affordable housing loans and a range of other consumer/member focused products. 

"The financial mutual sector is a significant player in the provision of affordable housing finance. It is driven by member needs and concern for the community and will continue to support affordable housing in all its forms. 

"Housing co-operatives are the quiet achievers in the housing sector. They have been highly successful in Australia and many other countries." 

Tags: 
Housing Affordability Housing Models

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