LISMORE sales assistant Renae Murray would take advantage of a city council proposal to help locals on lower incomes to obtain
LISMORE sales assistant Renae Murray would take advantage of a city council proposal to help locals on lower incomes to obtain

Renae dreams of own home

By Alex Easton

RENAE MURRAY would love to own her own home, but on a shop assistant's wage her dreams of home ownership are likely to stay just dreams.

However, Lismore City Council is looking for ways to help boost people like Ms Murray into the housing market through initiatives such as going halves with her in a mortgage.

That idea is one of several to be looked at in a proposed affordable-housing study by the council.

Lismore City Council executive services co-ordinator, Simon Adcock, said the study, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will seek ideas for making housing more affordable.

Going halves with new home buyers, called shared equity, is an example of the sort of thing the study would examine. The initiative is being used by the Western Australian, South Australian, and Victorian governments to help residents get into tight housing markets.

The study follows with the release of figures showing home ownership in Lismore is out of the reach of about 92 per cent of residents on an average income.

With the study on affordable housing still to be done, Mr Adcock was unable to say how any such scheme would operate in Lismore. However, he did say the scheme would not turn a profit nor impose any cost on the city's ratepayers.

The idea was enthusiastically embraced by Real Estate Institute NSW vice-president and Lismore real estate agent Paul Deegan, and by Summerland Credit Union chief executive Margot Sweeny. Both said a shared equity scheme would be a boon to Lismore.

The scheme would give Lismore a reputation as an innovator, while drawing people to the city and strengthening its economy, Ms Sweeny said.

Provided the scheme was approved by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, the credit union would be happy to partner with the council to help make it succeed. Lismore councillor Jenny Dowell was also enthusiastic.

"We're talking about people who work in retail and hospitality and aged care; people on low-to-middle incomes who are frozen out of the market," Cr Dowell said.

Ms Murray, 22, has worked as a shop assistant at Wood-%lark Street's Jeans House for about five years. She and her partner were considering building a house.

However, even on their combined income and buying cheaply, they would need significant help from family to realise their dream.

Shared equity would give her the chance to buy her own property.

"If I could do it myself it would be great," she said.



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