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This research investigates lower income older households’ preferences for a range of alternative housing models and examines which of these would best meet their needs, as well as identifying ways to support households deciding their housing options. The findings of this project provide key evidence for consideration in developing a market for alternative housing options.

Seven alternative housing models were presented to a nationally representative sample of older people. These composite models—each with a unique combination of tenure, construction, location, social composition, shared space and technology characteristics—included a mixed use apartment building option; a cooperative housing option; a communal housing option; a transportable home option; a shared equity home ownership option; a dual key property option; and a village-style housing option.

The shared equity home ownership model; cooperative housing model; and transportable home model were substantially preferred by lower income housed older Australians. All three alternative housing models met the short and long-term housing needs of the respondents and would also deliver benefits in terms of people’s non-shelter aspirations for home including independence, privacy, security of tenure, ability to have companion animals, and room for friends, family or a carer to stay.

Survey respondents expressed a strong liking for rights of ownership (84%)—through the dual key housing option and the shared equity housing option—and a long lease option (83%). Housing options that included other tenure arrangements, such as shared governance and management (59%) and land owned and retained by government (68%), were considered less desirable.

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AHURI Final Report No.390