Tips and Traps of Developing Affordable Housing

By Justin Eslick

Different locations have different demand for affordable housing and this demand is often reflected in the concessions and incentives available for developers to encourage them to develop this product. The below list of ‘Tips and Traps’ is based on Brisbane, however, similar scenarios may apply all over Australia, especially in our capital cities.

The Essential Worker

Affordable housing really has multiple meanings. Most people define affordable housing as accommodation for boarders and Department of Housing residents, when it isn’t actually always the case. These days it may apply to accommodation housing ‘essential workers’. This is the branding for workers who may not earn as much income as they need to service the area that they are required to live and work in. The common examples are nurses or policemen. These are people who might be required to work in very expensive inner city locations yet do not earn the inner city dollars.

There are incentives that exist for developers who develop affordable housing for both of these types of residents. Rather than define this at any deeper level, for the purpose of this discussion we will treat the development for both these types as being ‘affordable housing’, however, the list tends to lean towards producing a ‘to be rented’ development, rather than a cheaper end product to sell.


Here are some incentives and concessions that may currently be available or are being investigated:


Beware though, developing affordable housing can come at a cost and there are traps:

As you can see there are some clear advantages and disadvantages to developing affordable housing. Owning and developing the above types of developments can be very, very rewarding, however, you need to be aware of exactly what it is you are developing.

One last tip!

Before proposing affordable housing go and speak to the various ‘higher ups’ in council and the State Government. In some cases there is a great demand for this type of product and they may go to extraordinary lengths to encourage constructing it, well above what is discussed above.

Investigate Property is a Brisbane based buyer’s agent for investment property, with experience in boarding houses and student accommodation. For more information on Investigate Property click here.

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