Rent Revolution: Sydney Builds Homes You Can't Buy, But Can You Afford them?

Sunday, 3 March 2024

Hundreds of new apartments are popping up across Sydney, but they're not for sale. This innovative "build to rent" model aims to be a game-changer for renters, but will it truly make housing more affordable?

The concept is simple: large, professionally managed buildings specifically designed for renters, not buyers. With 19 projects underway, areas like Parramatta, Ryde, and Canterbury-Bankstown are embracing this new approach.

Coronation Property is leading the charge with a massive 880-apartment block in Merrylands, the biggest build-to-rent project in Sydney yet. While some units will be sold, a whopping 450 will be for rent, offering convenience and a streamlined move-in process.

But will it be cheaper? The government believes so. Planning Minister Paul Scully sees this model increasing housing supply, which could put downward pressure on rent prices. Additionally, the single ownership structure supposedly ensures better maintenance and a more stable renting experience.

"Is it the whole solution?" Scully asks, "No." But it's a promising step, following the success of similar models in the US (12% of housing) and the UK.

However, there are concerns. Will rents in these buildings actually be affordable, or will they cater to a specific income bracket? Time will tell if the "build to rent" revolution lives up to the hype.

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