U.S. Investors Like Australia’s Granny Flats as Senior Housing Alternative

U.S. developers have taken a “revolutionary” Australian concept for creatively housing older urban dwellers and are running with it, backed by investors who like the model, reports National Mortgage News.

Sydney, Australia-based builder group Classic Granny Flats is credited with the concept and for constructing the first “granny flats” in Perth, meant to replace old-style custom houses with residential units that can reflect the individuality of each owner. 

“Granny flats in Perth represent a housing revolution that is changing the outlook of dwellings in Australia, according to company executives and local media reports,” says the article.

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The model has been described as a “sustainable, green affordable housing alternative” with room for investors. 

“Its philosophy is quite simple: More people will be interested in owning an apartment if they can co-design so it is manufactured according to their specific esthetic and cost requirements,” says the article. “More individual investors also would be interested in single-rental financing and ownership.”

While the model may have originated down under, it has traveled stateside to Austin, Texas and other areas in the U.S.

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“ADUs [accessory dwelling units] are a great way to increase the supply of housing in urban areas without disrupting the existing neighborhood fabric, since they may be developed in the backyards of existing single-family properties,” Michael Gatto,executive director of the Austin Community Design and Development Center, which constructs and finances such housing units, told National Mortgage News.

While the concept can face challenges, including zoning issues, Australia recently changed a national zoning law that paves the way for “granny flat” construction. 

“New legislation passed by Australian legislators in August 2013 expanded the potential demand by allowing owners to rent granny apartments, amending an earlier law that did not allow owners to rent out to non-family members to generate income to pay the mortgage or for other personal purposes,” says the article.

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Read more at National Mortgage News.

Written by Alyssa Gerace