Housing affordability and its social impact is emerging as a major concern throughout Australia. The largest element in household budgets is housing, and house prices have skyrocketed relative to incomes. Strict land use regulations and skewed government policies are placing large segments of the population under stress with negative impacts on social harmony, health and contentment.
According to Political Science economists Paul C. Cheshire, Max Nathan and Henry G. Overman "Housing affordability can be expected to deteriorate more, with dire economic and social consequences. The problem is utterly unviable in the long term. With every passing decade it would get worse, the wider economic costs would become more penalising, the monetary policy more unmanageable and the outcomes more unacceptable."
Cohousing is a development model that can deliver affordable housing, low impact living and resilient, happy communities. Cohousing is a concept wherein suitable blocks are adapted to accommodate two, three or more smaller dwellings with some shared spaces, reducing the overall physical, financial and environmental footprint per household.
Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living as a community without diminishing the privacy of the individual households. Careful preselection, awareness and communication enhancing meetings, sense of connection, and the physical design encourages both social contact and individual space, as well as more efficient use of general resources.
The composition of Australian households is changing: our population is ageing and over 30% of households will be single person households by 2026. Social isolation is a serious emerging issue. There are signs of new, more collaborative paradigms for semi rural living arrangements.
Cohousing has potential to make buying or renting a home cheaper but also enables sharing of bills, cars and household goods, as well as trading of services like babysitting and care for the elderly. As households collaborate to share resources an informal sharing economy grows, leaving many financially better off.
Company title is an interesting alternative legal structure. It is generally much simpler from a planning approvals perspective and in some cases may be doable within existing development controls.