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Rental bidding wars put Perth market out of bounds for most middle-income earners

Affordable housing provider Foundation Housing is now on a mission to house front-line staff like Mr Mackay through a pioneer program inspired by similar initiatives overseas, which uses cheap finance from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to buy apartments from developers like Fini, Stirling Capital, Pindan, Norup Wilson, and Parcel.

The Elevate program has been so successful the organisation has been forced to turn off advertising promoting the initiative after they were inundated by requests from struggling workers.

Foundation Housing chief executive Chris Smith said the program’s success showed there was a huge need for affordable housing, particularly with the end of the moratorium on rental evictions, which is predicted to result in thousands of West Australians needing help.

“Having seen this kind of model work overseas, and with the opening up of funding options through NHFIC, we realised we had an opportunity to do something different to answer a social need, build value in our assets and support the local property industry,” Mr Smith said.

“These homes are in places where people want to reside, including Perth, Subiaco, Duncraig, Cannington, Innaloo, Joondalup and Como. They’re also in places where it can be expensive to access quality affordable housing, particularly if you work in the area.”

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Foundation Housing rents out the units 25 per cent below market rate to essential workers and their families earning less than a combined $100,000 a year, using the income generated from rent to service the debt and fund new housing stock.

Eligible renters must work in healthcare, emergency services, education, child care, retail, transport, or local government.

After a disheartening few months of apartment hunting, Mr Mackay finally moved into his new apartment in Subiaco on Wednesday, where he pays just under $370 a week in rent.

“People should keep a keen eye on programs like this because it makes things way easier for the average Joe,” he said,

“It just takes a lot of stress out of the application process with the financial side of things and they seemed like they cared about the tenant, which I know a lot of landlords don’t, they are all about the money.”

To date, Foundation Housing has bought more than 100 homes across the Perth metro area including in the CBD, Subiaco, Duncraig, Cannington, Innaloo, Joondalup, and Como.

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