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Bringing Build-to-Rent to Canberra

At the Suburban Land Agency (SLA), we are aiming to grow the range of available housing options for Canberrans. Our city has a diverse community and we know that we can provide a wider range of choices when it comes to the type of homes we have available.

Build-to-Rent is an emerging asset class in Australia and new to the Canberra market. We know that this type of housing can:

  • establish rental homes which are high quality, great places to live
  • offer longer periods of tenure for renters, providing greater security
  • include affordable rental options
  • offer long-term, steady revenue generation for the owner

What is Build-to-Rent?

Build-to-Rent is an asset class which is typically:

  • owned long-term by a single owner, usually an institutional investor, with the goal of generating steady long-term income
  • designed with high quality common spaces and homes plus extra services for residents, to encourage homes to be rented quickly and occupied for longer, to support income generation

Pilot Build-to-Rent with affordable Rental component

The SLA is planning to release Block 3 Section 57 in Turner, in 2022-23, as a site to pilot Build-to-Rent with a minimum affordable rental component. This site was considered favourable during the market sounding process due to its size and proximity to the light rail and the CBD.

By bringing Build-to-Rent to Canberra, we are looking to: 

  • increase the number of private rental properties in the ACT, particularly for the more affordable end of the rental market 
  • grow the number of affordable rental options available at less than market rent, predominantly targeting households in the second income quintile (as defined by the ACT Housing Strategy) 
  • increase choice and housing diversity for renters, with homes that are specifically designed to meet renters’ needs 
  • offer opportunities for long-term tenure arrangements, tenants can establish themselves as part of a community and personalise their homes 

Further information is available in the Build-to-Rent Investment Prospectus: 

Market Sounding - November 2021

In November 2021, the SLA undertook a market sounding process to seek feedback and interest from industry and the community housing sector to participate in the delivery of Build-to-Rent in Canberra. We identified a site in Turner as the first Build-to-Rent project, along with a future site in Lawson and a potential pipeline of future projects. However, before we released the sites to market we wanted to ensure the process was as collaborative and successful as possible.

What did we ask?

Through this market sounding process, we wanted to:

  • understand the appetite for developing and operating Build-to-Rent properties in Canberra, that meet the ACT Government’s objectives
  • identify what incentives, subsidies or other changes may be required to include an affordable rental component
  • inform future land sales processes that could unlock development, facilitate construction and support local jobs
  • identify opportunities for innovation in the design, construction, management and commercial structure of Build-to-Rent projects

Industry briefing

An industry briefing was held on Thursday 25 November 2021, you can view the recording of the session below. 

What's next?

Feedback from market sounding was used to inform the release of Block 3 Section 57 Turner for a pilot Build-to-Rent project with affordable rental. Following the release of the identified site in Turner, the ACT Government will continue to explore the suitability of the release of additional sites to support more Build-to-Rent development.

Interested in hearing more about Build-to-Rent releases? Please register your interest by subscribing to the Suburban Land Agency mailing list here.