Around 1,045 Western Australians with modest incomes have partnered with the state government to buy new homes under a revitalised shared ownership scheme.

The state government of Western Australia acts as a silent partner for singles earning between $50,000 and $70,000, as well as couples earning less than $90,000. The government shoulders as much as 30 per cent of the housing cost. 

The new homeowner only pays the mortgage on the remaining amount, and also has the option to buy back the government’s portion in the future. But still, the home is entirely owned by the owner, with no inspections or any other type of tenancy rules being implemented.

The housing scheme goes way back in 2011. It was established after the rapid rise in housing costs due to the mining boom forced many moderate income earners out of the market. It also coincided with the 2010 peak in the number of people waiting for the Department of Housing rentals at more than 24,000.

The properties are freshly-built, ranging from one-bedroom units to four-bedroom homes spread throughout Perth’s suburbs. These homes can be found in sought-after suburbs like Subiaco and regional centres like Albany and Bunbury. A one-bedroom unit in Subiaco costs around $288,000, while a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Ellenbrook is priced at $287,000.

According to the new homeowners, this payment scheme costs less than paying rent. Another advantage is that they are now paying their own homes rather than someone else’s.