About Affordable Housing

What is affordable housing?

Housing is generally considered to be affordable when:

  • The dwelling is appropriate to the needs of targeted households in terms of design, location and access to services and facilities; and
  • Households are able to pay their rent and meet costs of other basic needs, such as food, healthcare etc.

Under the GHC model, Affordable Housing is developed and owned by the company (a not-for-profit organisation), and is offered to low to moderate income households.

This differs to Social Housing, which encompasses both Public Housing, which is owned and managed by the State Government, and Community Housing, which is managed by a not-for-profit Community Housing Organisations. 


Who lives in affordable housing?

Residents in Affordable Housing properties may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a diverse range of ages and life stages.  Affordable Housing is generally most attractive to households on low to moderate incomes, such as retail, hospitality, services industry staff (child care workers) who may find themselves priced out of the local rental or sales markets.

Affordable Housing presents an attractive, high quality housing alternative for these households who may otherwise need to move away from their local communities and families to access appropriate housing. A key feature of Affordable Housing is that it offers local people a diverse and sustainable range of housing options that suit their needs, and the needs of the local community.

GHC creates liveable communities by way of an innovative business model – Mixed Tenure – which combines elements of affordable housing in inner city locations for key workers and owner occupiers with some developments offering both retail and commercial space. The mixed tenure model is both financially and socially sustainable and enables communities to thrive and the company to create high quality, diverse developments in sought after/high demand locations. 


What is mixed tenure?

GHC's Mixed Tenure Model creates successful communities that offer sustainable homes for people of varying incomes and stages of life, creating vibrant places for all to share.

The GHC Mixed Tenure Model includes a mix of affordable ‘key worker’ rental and market rate home ownership to achieve successful ‘social mix’. 

GHC’s Mixed Tenure Model was developed on the principle that land and housing should be accessible and enjoyed by all, but that it should also be financially and socially sustainable.  The GHC Mixed Tenure Model was conceptualised to break-up or avoid concentration of disadvantage, in order to improve social and economic outcomes such as:

  • Improving the wellbeing and circumstances of all residents and the local community
  • Reducing future social and economic costs
  • Delivering new or replacement housing
  • Reducing public opposition to affordable housing

Our experience has confirmed that social mix ensures the local community remains unaffected and can benefit by the inclusion of affordable housing as well as increasing labour force participation and improve health and wellbeing of residents.


What does affordable housing look like?

Affordable Housing is similar in design to private housing developments- it is modern, attractive and designed to complement its surroundings. Affordable Housing within our developments range in size from studio units to four bed townhouses and are constructed according to high-quality industry standards.  Often, Affordable Housing developments include retail or commercial spaces, which increase the diversity and viability of the development and provide positive opportunities to partner with business and community organisations.

GHC works in partnership with a range of leading architects, planners, engineers, builders and other development professionals ensuring each and every dwelling share the cornerstone of quality design, build and finish, and that the form of the development fits within the local community. 


Who benefits from affordable housing?

Affordable Housing benefits the entire community, by contributing to mixed and sustainable neighbourhoods. It ensures people have access to appropriate, sustainable housing that meets their needs, and allows working families to remain close to their employment and community hubs. It also supports local organisations and economies, for example through the award of construction contracts, leasing of commercial spaces, and supplying a locally based workforce.  Ensuring local people pay affordable rents means that families have sufficient levels of disposable income to fund household and living expenses, which is often crucial to the viability of local businesses.


What makes affordable housing affordable?

Under the GHC model, rents are determined based on a percentage of market rents.  GHC considers the median rent in a particular suburb, for a particular type of dwelling, and calculates a discounted rent. 

Typically, GHC provides housing at 74.9 per cent of market rent, thus the discounted amount being 25.1%. However, if the dwelling is located in a high priced rental area, the discount may be higher to ensure affordability for the tenant (i.e. in this instance, rents may be set at 70 per cent or 65 per cent of market rent). This rental model ensures a consistent level of affordability across our portfolio while still meeting the finance requirements of the Company. This is distinctly different to the social housing model, whereby rents are calculated at 25 per cent of a household income.

In our experience this innovative rental model is key to ensuring our developments are socially and financially sustainable. As the rent amount does not increase when a household's income increases, tenants are encouraged and supported to gain and retain employment. Additionally, guaranteed rental income allows BHC to re-invest in the provision of more affordable housing. 


What is the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS)?

The Commonwealth and State Governments jointly funded the initiative to help alleviate the rental crisis facing Middle Australia.  This scheme, the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), aimed to deliver 50,000 new dwellings across Australia to be rented out to low and moderate income individuals and families. 

Through the NRAS scheme a tax free incentive (indexed to grow with CPI) is provided to investors buying a NRAS property for a period of 10 years. This incentive is made available to investors each year in return for entering into a NRAS agreement that offers discounted rents to eligible tenants.

In order to receive the yearly incentive, the discounted rent offered must be at least 20% less than the market rent for the area and the tenants must meet income eligibility criteria.

Further information on the NRAS scheme, eligibility limits and incentive amounts can be viewed at:
Australian Government Department of Social Security.


How does affordable housing get treated in the Development Application process?

Our affordable housing developments are subject to the same conditions and processes as any commercial developer. There is no one DA process that applies to all developments and, therefore, this will vary from proposal to proposal.