By Marrisa Lague
The quiet achiever on the affordable housing front, the National Rental Affordability Scheme, will deliver 7500 affordable homes to WN.s rental market in the next few years and with applications far outstripping funding allocations, the sector has become a sizeable presence in WN.s development industry. The scheme gives a $10,000 annual payment per dwelling for up to 10 years to investors building new rental properties and then renting them at 20 per cent, or more, below market rent. “Early in the piece, when NRAS was new to the industry, we did most of the approaching to developers but these days we have a reasonably broad client base of developers and we tend to alert them to another round of funding,” said Luke Ford, managing director of Quantum Housing Group, one of several Perth agencies linking up developers and facilitating the scheme. In the last round of NRAS funding, which closed in August, there were 1500 allocations available for WA and 7300 applications for projects. Mr Ford said builders and developers were screened according to balance sheets and performance to ensure their capacity to deliver a competitive project. “It’s an important sector for developers and builders but also poorly understood,” he said. “It’s one of those non-controversial programs that has bipartisan support, so it doesn’t get a lot of air time – which is really disappointing because it’s quietly getting results on the ground. Greg Cash, director of marketing innovation and partnerships for the Department of Housing said more than 1500 NRAS homes had already been constructed in WA, contributing towards the State Government’s commitment to deliver 20,000 new affordable housing opportunities by 2020. By the end of next year, about 2500 homes should have been completed in WA. Another 1500 allocations are still to be assessed and many of the earlier allocations are at various stages of the planning and building process. “That’s a significant amount of housing for a market like Perth,” Mr Ford said. “It’s enough to have downward effect on rents.” Quantum Housing Group has just delivered its 500th home under the NRAS scheme. These are collectively valued at more than $200 million. The home is one of seven in the 20 unit project Walk on Wilson, developed by the Cedar Property Group in Bassendean, that were purchased by investors and will be available for rent at a 20 per cent market discount through the NRAS scheme. “This home is located in a quality development just 200 metres from the Bassendean Town Centre and 600 metres from Bassendean Train Station,” Mr Ford said. “This niche development fits perfectly into the State Government’s Directions 2031 planning framework that will allow for 47 per cent of additional housing over the next two decades to be urban infill and consolidation projects.