This post is to share details of remarkable housing development in Fremantle, Western Australia. It’s brand new for Western Australia informed by successful models widely-applied in places such as Germany that have now spread globally. While simple in essence, it could enable totally different relationships to our home and suburbs.

Please read on and if you, or someone you know, please use the details at the end to get in touch to be introduced to the project, team behind it and other participants.

The housing development is called ‘Baugruppen’ and the standout point of difference is model of collective development of individualised housing that enables the prospective owners to be the developers. Through being more ‘direct’ than via developers, the costs of the same property are at least 10% more affordable (developer profits eliminated) and designed exactly as the dwellers want it rather than buying off the plan.

Particularly exciting aspects of this development include:
  • Ecological sustainability – 10 star rated, One Planet Living, with more “smart” and “green” features than you can imagine,
  • Smart financing – prospective owners submit expressions of interest (EOIs) to act together as developers. Sufficient EOIs (10 in this case) triggers formation of the group as a legal entity to develop the property as it sees fit
  • Scaleable potential – through restricting re-sale profit for the first 5 years this reduces property speculation
  • Precinct-scale design – this project is located in the White Gum Valley innovation precinct with suburb-scale sustainability and community features
  • Beautiful design – the individual apartments are amazing, their modular design suitable for single or many occupants and no shared walls.

So, it’s more than just a ‘sustainable house‘, it’s a group of sustainable houses that appropriately and affordably meet the needs of participants while being a model for more appropriate suburb and city-scale development.

Kirsten Ring talks further about the intent behind these developments and benefits of this at scale in her TEDx talk. Watching this made me appreciate how a seemingly small change in how we collaboratively, sustainably, appropriately develop housing could really shift our relationships with our neighbours, communities and cities.

Sounds amazing, right?

And, there are some challenges: for one,25% deposit in the first 18 months. Because this is ‘new’ (here in WA) the Australia banks won’t lend to the group at the same rate they would to their familiar customers: developers. This means we (participants) have to pool and finance the initial loan through contributing 25% in stages spread over the first 18 months. This is higher than the common 10% deposit to secure a new home.

Furthermore, for full disclosure and your interest: there are other offerings nearby though without all the same advantages, such as Nightingale (social enterprise, developer-backed). And a plethora of examples of ‘sustainable’ (ecologically) housing showcases on Sustainable House day, and high-density developments Liv Apartments (Defence Housing, One Planet Living).

To learn more, check out the Baugruppen website, and follow the contact details there to get the official information on pricing, availability. There are a limited number of apartments left before a end-of-September 2018 deadline to initiate the development.

Those who’ve already submitted EOIs or are seriously considering it are now meeting regularly to welcome new participants and map the way forward.