A major step forward for the Community Land Trust model on the Mid-North Coast

Coastal NSW has never been under more housing pressure than it is right now. With residential rental vacancy rates hovering below 1% for most postcodes, asking rents tripling (on average) since the start of the pandemic, sky-rocketing cost of living pressures, at least a decade of social housing stock decline, increasing conversions of homes to the short-term holiday letting market, e-changers with Sydney wages out-competing locals for home ownership and rental opportunities, and frequent and intense climate-changed fuelled disasters, it really is no wonder that regional communities have been left reeling in recent years.

That being said, there are local solutions being tabled into what can be done to improve affordable and secure housing outcomes in the absence of significant State investment in regional communities and macro-level changes in how we treat housing primarily as a risk-subsidised investment vehicle.

Our friends at Housing Matters Action Group (HMAG) have been hugely influential in driving the Mid-North Coast Joint Organisation of Councils (MNCJOC) to pool resources and develop a proof of concept report for a Community Land Trust model (CLT) across the three LGAs of Bellingen, Kempsey, and Port Macquarie-Hastings.

Extract from Epic dot gov and Urbanista Australia “proof of concept” report

Building on the Australian Community Land Trust Manual, the proof of concept report recommends localised approaches to financing, establishing, delivering, and maintaining a CLT model for participating Councils.

The proof of concept helpfully breaks down the key features of a CLT:

  • Not-for-profit entity that provides housing through a co-ownership or a 99-year lease model giving residents access to many of the benefits which typify home ownership such as long-term security and greater autonomy in the use of their home.  
  • Locally based – borne as a community-based response to the needs of local households not well served by available housing options.
  • Delivers affordability in perpetuity by:
    • taking land out of the market and holding it, removing speculative upward price pressures on the land component; 
    • strictly limiting the capital gains that can be realised by participating residents.
  • Community stewardship and representative governance with the governing board commonly drawn from CLT residents, CLT membership, and the community.  
  • Resident and community empowerment – through inclusive management frameworks and decision-making processes.

We applaud the work done by the MNCJOC and HMAG to deliver this very useful step in reimagining housing as a human right and not as a windfall profit-maker.