Alternative housing models for precariously housed older Australians

This report undertaken by researchers from University of South Australia, RMIT, Curtin University and Flinders University investigates the potential of alternative housing models to increase the supply of affordable housing for older Australians and the role alternative financing schemes could play in expanding those options.

It identifies seven housing models that best represented different combinations of attributes suitable for older households and that could benefit from further research: using mixed use apartment building owned by a state housing authority (rental); cooperative housing on land owned by a community housing provider (rental); communal housing in a two-storey building owned by a community housing provider (rental); transportable home on vacant public land (rental); shared equity home in the outer suburbs of a capital city (ownership); dual key property in the outer suburbs of a capital city (ownership); and village-style housing (rental).

Key Points

  • Older Australians on lower incomes who do not own their own homes are at increasing risk of housing stress and instability, with private renters and single women facing particular risks.
  • Precarious housing has negative impacts on the health, safety and wellbeingof older people, while also undermining their capacity to age well in place.
  • There is an urgent need for innovation in the Australian housing market to drive an expanded and more diverse range of affordable housing options for lower income older people and reduce the need for older people to rely on the private rental sector.
  • Fieldwork findings identified a range of alternative housing models with strong potential to be scaled up in the Australian context: cohousing, integrated mixed use developments, modular-style manufactured housing utilising vacant land and low-rise medium density developments.
  • Reforms to the private rental sector to provide greater protection for tenants and more flexible financing models can also contribute to improving affordable housing options for older Australians.

Read the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report here.