Property developer Australand has teamed up with St.George Bank to offer a housing solution that will help struggling homebuyers get a toehold of the property market. The venture will allow homebuyers to have an equity partner, creating co-ownership between the purchaser (who will live in and maintain the home) and the equity partner (usually a relative or a friend). Ross Blancato, general manager of national business development at Australand, said the plan, formulated in response to a Landcom initiative, aims to address the pressing issue of housing affordability and the growing inability of key workers to buy a home in close proximity to their work. Blancato said the "unique" ground-breaking solution aims to make homeownership more accessible, particularly for middle-income families, for 50% of the regular price. There are a few 'rules' attached to the plan - the equity partner will receive any capital gain on their share, but may not generally be entitled to any rent or additional returns from their investment in the property, and there will be separate title deeds for each person. Australand will roll the plan out at its Greenway Views development at West Hoxton and Braemont Estate at Kellyville, NSW. St.George will be offering a vast array of home loan products within the co-ownership plan. Bill McCabe, chief manager of specialised mortgage solutions at St.George, said the plan will give the purchaser their full share of any future capital gains. "The purchaser has 50% of the equity and they also receive the full 50% of any future capital gains. We believe it's the fairest product for the consumer available." The co-ownerships will run for a term of 10 years after which the property can be sold or a new arrangement agreed between the two parties. The term can be altered by mutual agreement.

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