I want to afford to buy a new home

You’re in the right place! There’s evidence that collaborative housing projects can cost 15-30% less than comparable ‘conventional’ housing in the same area. Explore how ownership and financing works, and view examples of different models. Then choose your approach.

I want to buy with friends

You could consider buying into a small block together or, for larger groups, joining a building group or cooperatives. Look at the ownership and financing approaches that can make this possible, and consider the legalities.

I want an affordable rental home

Look at the opportunities provided by cooperatives and see some examples. You may also consider renting from family or friends on a small block. Some new generation boarding houses are also designed and managed in accordance with collaborative housing principles.

I want to stay in my own home as I age

If you have a home on a reasonably sized block, you might want to explore the option of converting it to accommodate friends or family. Live in separate homes, but share space - and company - in a way that suits your group’s preferences.

I want to live with family across generations

There are different collaborative housing models that support this, from a few homes sharing a block or adjacent blocks, to much larger developments where you can live intergenerationally within a larger community.

I'm looking for a new kind of retirement living option

You’re not alone! Collaborative housing is a perfect model for retirees looking for innovative and affordable options that allow them to live independently, but closely connected to friends, family and/or a broader community.

I want to be part of a connected community

This is a big part of the appeal of collaborative housing – the chance to be part of a connected, supportive community. Along with this comes the ability to share skills, pool resources, help each other out and enjoy each other’s company. There are models that suit all types of communities, large and small, and tools to help ensure everyone gets along.

Is collaborative housing for you?

People gravitate to collaborative housing for a whole range of different reasons. Some are mostly driven by pragmatics, like wanting to save money or live in better quality housing, while others also want something that aligns with their values and lifestyles.


The door is open


While collaborative housing won’t appeal to everyone, it isn’t exclusive to a particular group or type of person. In fact, projects that mix generations and other demographic characteristics are often the most vibrant. Collaborative housing can suit large or small groups, in urban or regional locations. What it looks like and how it is set up is entirely up to each group.


It's probably a good fit for you if:  

  • You want to live within a supportive, connected community, whether it’s a few households or a much larger group.

  • You like the idea of pooling resources to get more from less, whether it’s sharing a little or a lot.

  • You want to live in close proximity to friends or family

  • You enjoy participating in the design and ongoing management of the place you live

Find your fit

There are collaborative housing projects to fit a range of different needs.


What does the research say?

As population demographics and the composition of households changes, so do our housing needs, making collaborative housing an increasingly relevant option. Households are getting smaller, our population is ageing and family structures are changing. This calls for a new approach to housing.

On older people

Of the changes projected to occur in Australia's population, the most significant are to the age structure of the population. Within a generation, the proportion of Australians aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 14.2% to 20%, and the proportion of Australians aged 85 and over will double from 1.8% to 3.6%. (ABS, 2013). Many of these Australians will be living alone and potentially at risk of social isolation. One study found loneliness to be twice as bad for older people’s health as obesity and almost as great a cause of death as poverty (Cacioppo, 2008). Older people generally have a strong desire to live independently in the community and to retain their personal autonomy for as long as possible (Commonwealth of Australia, 2015). Collaborative housing could provide an affordable alternative that supports this independence, better connects older Australians to their community and reduces the need for formal care.

On retirees

The current generation of retirees is, on average, healthier and wealthier than their predecessors, and is demanding better housing solutions for their retirement. Of those who own their home, more than 80% say they want to remain there as they age. However this generation will live longer, their retirement will last longer, their healthcare expenditure will escalate and many have significant levels of debt. Around three quarters will be eligible for the age pension. Housing affordability is a growing concern for many in this cohort, particularly women, who are likely to live longer and have less superannuation. It is clear that this group has a lot to gain from the affordability benefits and connection to community that collaborative housing can provide.

On families and children

Family households take many forms. Single parent households are on the rise, as are multigenerational households. Families juggling work and home life could have a lot to gain from collaborative housing. One of the original aims of cohousing, a type of collaborative housing, was to improve the lives of children and there are examples of vibrant collaborative housing projects where children share play areas and toys. In a connected and trusted community there is also greater scope for sharing child minding responsibilities and for children to enjoy each other’s company. This can be particularly valuable for single parent households and also for children with no siblings.

On younger people

Generation Y is the first generation to fully miss out on the benefits of the housing boom, with many giving up on ever owning a home. This generation is also familiar with the sharing economy and collaborative lifestyles, and seeking housing options that are innovative and affordable. The popularity of projects such as Nightingale with Gen Y suggests this group could be a significant ‘early adopter’ of collaborative housing.

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